New Delhi, Sep 14 (IANS) Observing the “sorry state of affairs” in the running of the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) and the need to revamp it, the Delhi High Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) on Wednesday observed that there is total mismanagement in TTFI’s functioning with no record of any decision or meeting to take major decisions.
In its 91-page report submitted before the high court, the CoA said there “is a critical need to re-examine the entire byelaws and its constitution in view of not only the sports code, but also for fair and transparent execution of functions as they are being managed in an unprofessional manner”.
The CoA, which was categorically clear in observing that the sport’s governance in the country since long has been plagued by nepotism, fiefdom, lack of accountability and financial irregularities, recommended that “there is also requirement of various effective steps, which are required to be taken by the TTFI in the procedure of election, the auditors, the appointment of ombudsman and for grievance redressal”.
The high court, hearing a petition filed by ace women’s paddler Manika Batra, had in February directed the appointment of an administrator to run the TTFI, saying its faith was shaken in view of the sports body’s “sorry state of affairs”.
Observing that the TTFI office-bearers have turned a blind eye to the issues of mismanagement, the report poiinted out, “Unfortunately, they appear to have indulged in such practices. The executive committee members are not having any expertise in international competitions of table tennis of skills to administer in a professional manner.
“If permitted by the court, the CoA needs to examine the matter by taking inputs from all the stakeholders and examining the working of other federations in India and abroad to achieve the ultimate goal of the sport flourishing from grassroots to the international level.”
The CoA, headed by retired Delhi High Court Chief Justice Gita Mittal, recommended to examine the necessity of prescribing essential qualifications of the office-bearers of sports associations to ensure the right talent and expertise is available in the organisation.
“The sport needs more cleansing, particularly the TTFI. The CoA undertakes to complete unfinished tasks to the best of its ability in terms of the orders of the court. The time has come to implement all the steps which have been noticed and also to take effective steps to remove all action of certain individuals who are controlling, directly or indirectly, the TTFI.”
Favouring the implementation of long-term measures keeping in view the upcoming international events, especially the Olympic Games in 2024 and 2028, the CoA observed that the players have worked assiduously and the selected coaches have shown an abounding commitment to the sport.
Asking the TTFI to set its house in order urgently to remain relevant and not to merely be reduced to a courier service with its role being confined to just sending entries for various national and international events, CoA member and Chandigarh-based senior advocate Chetan Mittal told IANS that they noted serious concerns as it is controlled by some people who are promoting their own interests with lack of transparency and accountability.
“The functioning is being done behind closed doors and without taking into account the interest and grievances of persons affected by its decisions, especially the players,” he said.
The CoA favours the TTFI to engage with former and contemporary players as well as experienced coaches.
“Further, the selection of coaches and players has to be done in a transparent manner to bring credibility and excellence in table tennis. There is an urgent need for the establishment of a centre of excellence at national and zonal levels.”
Without mincing words, the CoA was categorically clear in saying that the TTFI in future has to be run by dedicated professionals who have knowledge of the game without any personal interests.
Also, it favoured an urgent need for appointment of a professional CEO and competent support staff to run its day-to-day affairs.
Justice Rekha Palli, who was dealing with the petition of harassment of table tennis player Manika Batra, had on February 11 observed that TTFI “safeguarded the interests of its officials” and that “instead of promoting players, TTFI is dictating terms”.
In the petition, the paddler had claimed that the TTFI was carrying out its selection processes in a non-transparent manner and targeting certain individuals such as herself.