Only Indian citizens can represent country in sports events

December 26th, 2008 - 4:35 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 26 (IANS) The sports ministry said Friday that only Indian citizens can represent the country in sporting events and they will be entitled to government assistance. The ministry took the decision after it was directed by the Delhi High Court to formulate a uniform policy whether Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) and Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) are eligible to represent the country, the ministry said in a statement.

The matter came up in the court after the Squash Racquets Federation of India’s (SRFI) decision to restrict the representation to only Indian citizens was challenged by 17-year-old Karm Kumar.

Karm’s name was taken off the list for the 2010 Commonwealth Games probables by the Squash Racquets Federation of India (SRFI) because the teenager holds a British passport. Karm, who was born and brought up in Delhi, is a British citizen. Though he has never ever visited UK, he got a British passport because his father also holds a British passport. His mother is an Indian citizen and both parents are of Indian origin.

On the court’s direction, the ministry consulted the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and national sports federations and sought their opinion on the issues involved.

While the majority opinion emerged in favour of restricting the representation to Indian citizens, some federations didn’t offer any opinion and indicated that they would adhere to the policy laid down by the ministry.

After getting the responses, the ministry carefully examined the matter and took the decision.

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