EFI playing games

EFI playing games

The Equestrian Federation of India and poor governance are synonymous with each other. The latest in a series of gaffes is how the EFI, de-recognised by the sports ministry following a Delhi High Court and reduced to associate member status by the Indian Olympic Association, has tried to pull cotton wool over the eyes.

Left red faced after the Delhi High Court refused, twice, to let senior Army officers QMG Gen SS MIshra and DGST Gen MKS Yadav  from taking over as the EFI President and Vice President, the federation has now tried to come up with an audit committee to probe its members list.

It is well known the EFI membership list  is a joke. There are several private members, in addition to various units of the Army like Dog Units, Tank Transporters, Supply ( Ration ) Depots, Mule Units  , Mechanical Transport Units, Military Vet Hospital , Advance Mil Vet Hospitals, Mobile Hospitals,  Central Mil  Vet Lab , FOL Depot, ASC Bn, DGST. All of them pay Rs 3,000 as annual subscription to the EFI and are members.

The audit committee formed to look into membership comprised Harish Khokhar, vice president, Brig Sameer Lamba,  MS Rathore, Col Jaiveer Singh, (secretary EFI).

The points mentioned for audit were (a) Screening of existing institution/club/unit member, (b) recommendation for removal of institution/club/unit member, transfer of unit member to club member and vice versa. The committee was to submit its report within 15 days, which is September 15.

The moot point is if this exercise was taken up in seriousness since the EFi is facing flak in separate cases in the Delhi High Court. If at all it was serious, why did the committee did not ask state association for any details is strange.

The EFI has cared two hoots about its state associations and even when they had written to the EFI, no replies were given. Last year, when the state units met in Bengaluru, they wanted to move forward with the EFI but the response was zero.

At a time when 57 National Sports Federation in India stand de-recognised, the EFI has only made promises on paper, from amending its constitution to drawing up a roadmap for the future. Even three years after it said the roadmap will be drawn up, there has been no forward movement.

This must be an unique federation where the president and secretary change almost annually, and not by a process of elections. It is well known  the EFI do not promote the sport. And the privateers who promote the sport have no say in the EFI.

Many a time, there is talk of how in many NSFs, members are used as a  vote bank. The EFI is no different.

Meanwhile, the case between the Rajasthan state association and the EFI is due for hearing later this month.

What is also interesting is the EFI website has been shut down for over two months now. One is not sure where the reports of the audit committee are going to be now posted.

As regards promotion of sport, Fouaad Mirza, who has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics, still gets no support from the EFI or the government. His training and horses are all paid for by the Embassy Group based in Bengaluru.  Before this, in 2018, the EFI had also made a mess of the selection trials for the Jakarta Asian Games.

For the record, Fouaad won two silver medals in the Asian Games. He was given the Arjuna Award in 2019.

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