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Court to Oversee Kabaddi Match Due to Unfair Selection Claims

The match will take place at the Indira Gandhi stadium in New Delhi on Saturday.

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Other Sports
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For the first time in Indian sports, the country’s judicial system will oversee a kabaddi match between players who represented India at the recently concluded Asian Games and those who were not picked.

The match, which will take place at the Indira Gandhi stadium in New Delhi on Saturday, is being played according to a Delhi High Court order last month and will feature the men and women players who represented India at the Asian Games and those who were not selected.

The High Court case is against officials of the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI), who face allegations of unfair selection for the Asian Games teams.

AKFI was ordered by the Delhi High Court to “conduct a selection process which shall commence from 15 September 2018 at 11:00 am” by a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao. Delhi High Court Justice (retired) S P Garg was appointed as an observer of the selection process. An officer from the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports will also be present along with Justice Garg.

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Former India international Mahipal Singh had approached the High Court with bribery charges in the Asiad selection process soon after the kabaddi teams for the Asian Games were announced. Since the teams were already decided when the matter was brought to the High Court’s notice, the court decided that a match should take place to determine the authenticity of the allegations after the conclusion of the Asian Games.

According to Mahipal’s advocate B S Nagar, who spoke to The Indian Express, the matches will be between the men and women players who represented India at the Asian Games and those who were not selected. The not selected lot will have players who attended the national camp.

The High Court order hasn’t made it compulsory for players who were at the Asian Games to participate in the match. So, Nagar believes many Indian players will try to give the game a miss citing injuries and other excuses since their reputation will be in line.

The order has also asked AKFI to make sure players from all over the country is represented in Saturday’s matches because of which AKFI has to ensure that all State Kabaddi Associations inform their players about the date, time and venue of the selection process.

According to the court order, the entire selection process needs to be videographed, the recording of which shall be preserved by the Sports Association of India and a copy thereof be placed before the court as well.

The selection process shall be conducted by three selectors, who shall be appointed by the Secretary of Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.

The Indian men’s team at the Asian Games had to settle for a bronze after they lost to Iran in the semi-finals. India had lost to South Korea in the group stages. For the first time in 28 years, India’s domination was challenged in kabaddi at the Asian Games in this edition. The women’s team also lost their final to Iran after winning gold in the previous two editions.

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