The Union Sports Ministry has informed the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) that in the absence of requisite details it would not be in a position to evaluate the latter’s proposal to bid for the 2019 Asian Games.
In two separate letters sent to the IOA on Wednesday, the ministry first re-iterated its position that the IOA’s proposal of July 15 last was “not worth consideration”, and then expressed its inability to place the matter before “the competent authority” because of the lack of details.
In its second letter on Wednesday, the ministry also pointed out that since this was a major decision, only a letter from the IOA President with complete details would be entertained for “further examination”.
The ministry had stated earlier that the IOA’s original proposal had come through an e-mail last April and then “piece-meal” information was supplied to the ministry.
When media reports suggested in July that the IOA might have submitted its bid to the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) without the Government approval, in order to meet the June 30 deadline, the ministry wrote again to the IOA.
Follow a process
Union Sports Minister M.S. Gill stated then that such serious decision had to follow a process. He told the Rajya Sabha in August last that the IOA proposal lacked details and was not worth consideration.
The ministry wants the IOA to submit detailed proposals regarding feasibility, financial commitments, opportunity costs, administrative arrangements and other logistical details.
The IOA has projected an operating budget of $401 million and a likely revenue generation of $450 million, which, according to the ministry, were based on the budget and revenue generation projected for the Guangzhou Asian Games.
The IOA is desperate to submit a bid for the 2019 Asian Games and it is also being stated that even for the 2023 Games an initial bid would be required at the meetings of the OCA to be held in Guangzhou on November 12 and 13.
The IOA wants to keep up the momentum of its games-bidding spree so that it could eventually bid for the 2020 or a later edition of the Olympics.
The first step to prove its organization capability to host multi-discipline games was the CWG. The second logical step, in IOA’s calculations, would be to bring back the Asian Games after India last hosted it in 1982.
On the back foot
The alleged large-scale corruption involved in the CWG, which is being probed by several agencies, the escalating costs and the advisability of having Delhi as the venue for such games have put the ministry on the back foot.
The IOA had in 2003 projected a cost of Rs. 1900 crore (an official figure put this at Rs. 655 crore) for hosting the CWG.
The total costs for holding the CWG crossed Rs. 28,000 crore, according to Government estimates, while independent agencies have estimated the costs to be more than double this figure. The costs for construction and renovation of stadia and training venues alone crossed Rs. 4459 crore.
The IOA had promised to return the ‘loan’ that it took from the Government for conducting the Games. The initial sanction was for Rs. 1620 crore. An additional Rs. 687 crore was added for overlays, and just days before the opening more funds were released by the government.
The Organising Committee (OC), not unexpectedly, has fallen short of repaying the ‘loan’ as it has so far managed only around Rs. 600 crore from sponsorships, television rights and merchandising.