The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President N Ramachandran categorically denied claims of Secretary General Rajeev Mehta that India would be bidding for the 2019 Asian Games following the withdrawal of original hosts Vietnam stating that matter was not discussed at all.
"The IOA has not discussed it at all, so it would not be fair for me to discuss this," IOA chief N Ramachandran said on Day 4 of the SJFI's 37th national convention in Hyderabad last evening.
A month ago Mehta had said in case India hosted the 2019 Asiad, the IOA will not exercise financial powers and will only organise the multi-sporting event, a remark which appeared to stem from the experience of 2010 Commonwealth Games corruption scandal.
"We want to host 2019 Asian Games after Vietnam's withdrawal. We will take a final decision in IOA General Body Meeting which will be held most likely next month (June). We are waiting for the new Government to be formed and hoping to get its approval," Mehta told PTI in an interview last month.
Indonesia has expressed its willingness to step in as a replacement and a final decision on the host city will be decided on September 20 during the Incheon Asian Games. India had bid for hosting this year's Asian Games but had lost out to Incheon, South Korea, in 2007.
Ramachandran said his main mission during his tenure at the IOA is to make the association financially independent and free it from depending on the Centre for funding athletes.
"We also have to commercialise the IOA. The idea is to have enough sponsors for each national federation. Many companies are passionate about sports. We will go to them and see how much they can sponsor and tie them up. That way we are no longer dependent on the Government funds like the USAOC who do not take a single penny from the US Government. The IOA must strive to be financially independent." However, Ramachandran believes though the task of making the IOA self-sufficient is difficult, but not beyond their means.
"All we need is good networking and go hunting for sponsors and make IOA financially independent of the Government sponsors. That money which comes in to the IOA we can give it to the national sports federations or tie them up with the sponsors."