National Games: Won't pay IOA fine for delay, says Goa Minister

Panaji, Aug 7 (IANS) The Goa government has decided that it will not pay the fine of Rs 6 crore imposed on it by the International Olympic Association (IOA) for the delay in organising the 36th National Games in the coastal state.

Goa Sports Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar said that the state government had already spent Rs 390.47 crore for development of infrastructure for the National Games, the dates for which have still not been finalised, after repeated postponements.

"We will not pay the fine imposed on us," Ajgaonkar told the Goa legislative assembly on Wednesday during Question Hour. The initial fined amount was Rs. 10 crore, which was later reduced to Rs 6 crore by the IOA.

In his written reply to a question by Congress MLA Aleixo Lourenco, Ajgaonkar said: "The Indian Olympic Association has raised a demand for added hosting rights fee, however, the government has protested the demand raised by IOA and presently, the demand has not been acceded to."

Delay in completing the requisite infrastructure in Goa has been one of the reasons behind the delay in hosting the Games, the last edition of which was held in Jharkhand in 2011. The Goa government has already written to the IOA to allocate dates around May 2020 for hosting the Games.

Ajgaonkar also pointed out that "all previous editions" of the National Games had been delayed in the past.

"The 36th National Games were awarded to be hosted in Goa in 2011. However, all the previous Games editions delayed in hosting the event i.e. Ranchi (2011) and Thiruvananthapuram (2015), before which the Goa state government could not have held the Games," Ajgaonkar said, adding that one of the main reasons for delay was the model code of conduct in place for the 2019 general elections.

--IANS

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