The governance of Indian sports will now be a family affair. N Ramachandran, brother of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president N Srinivasan, is set to be elected unopposed as the president of Indian Olympic Association (IOA) during its general assembly meeting in New Delhi on February 9.
Ramachandran is an old hand at sports administration and is well-verse with the way IOC functions, owing to his successful stint as the president of World Squash Federation. He hasn’t played any sport professionally, but has long been involved in administration. He has been associated in various capacities with the Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI), Triathlon Federation of India, IOA, Asian Squash Federation (ASF) and, as WSF president, led squash’s unsuccessful attempt for a place in the 2020 Olympics.
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Apart from his experience in heading a sporting body, Ramachandran is also known for his communication abilities and his knowledge of the way IOC functions, owing to his successful stint as the president of World Squash Federation.
As the head of squash, Ramachandran has shown he is a stickler for top-quality infrastructure and hasn’t hesitated in spending money on exposure trips abroad and investing in foreign coaches for Indian athletes.
His appointment means that the two brothers now hold the crucial decision-making posts in the two most influential sports bodies in the country. It is believed that they share an estranged relationship and Ramachandran’s stake in the family’s company, India Cements, was bought out by his elder brother Srinivasan in 2009.
However, like his brother, Ramachandran is not averse to controversies. He has been accused of influencing the draw for 2006 Asian Games squash matches. Ramachandran, who was the ASF president and SRFI secretary back then, oversaw the process that ensured the two Indians in fray at Doha – Ritwick Bhattacharya and Saurav Ghosal – did not face each other till semifinals, which would guarantee at least a bronze. The script played out to perfection and Ghosal returned home with a bronze.
Last year, the Delhi High Court slammed him for fraud and manipulation in getting the national sports award. He was also accused by Clean Sports India of making false declaration in his application for the post of president of World Squash Federation and alleged that he violated IOC’s code of ethics.
He was also accused of misappropriating funds allocated by the sports ministry for the preparation of squash players for the Delhi Commonwealth Games.