Tug-of-war between sports bodies leaves volleyball players high and dry

Volleyball representational image
Representational image. Photo: IANS

Kottayam: The Kerala Olympic Association (KOA) has refused to approve the 18-member Kerala volleyball team selected by the Kerala State Sports Council (KSSC) for the upcoming National Games. As per the Indian Olympic Association (IOC) guidelines, selection of state teams for national events is the prerogative of the sports associations affiliated to the IOC. Several administrative hurdles have to be cleared for procuring the necessary sanction for the squad picked by the KSSC, said KOA president V. Sunil Kumar.

According to him, the state government will have to seek the IOC's approval for fielding the team selected by the KSSC at the National Games,scheduled to be held in Gujarat in September-October.

The decision by the Kerala State Volleyball Association (KSVA) and the KSSC to pick different teams for the National Games had stirred up a row. The KOA's explanation added to the uncertainty over the state team's participation at the national event.

The volleyball fraternity in the state has been highly critical of KSVA's decision to exclude the players who took part in the Prime Volleyball League, a franchisee-based tournament, from the state squad. "A professional league was a long-standing dream of volleyball players in the country. Banning players for attending a franchisee-based league is unfortunate. Players are at the receiving end of the bitter tug-of-war between sports bodies. If the state of affairs continues like this, the future of the game in Kerala will be bleak," said former national team captain Tom Joseph.

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