Former secretary general of the Election Commission, Umesh Sinha, has been appointed the returning officer. He will conduct the SGFI elections before January 31, 2023, as per Model Election Guidelines.
The SGFI organises competitions at various levels and selects teams for representation of India at the international school sporting events organised by the International School Sports Federation.
Several state governments and even central organisations like Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti, Kendriya Vidyalaya Samiti and CBSE have tieups with SGFI for the same.
The Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports on October 20 ordered that the SGFI – whose government recognition was withdrawn in 2020 – illegally fielded school teams in international competitions and put students through difficulties.
The latest governmental move comes months after the SGFI was asked to remove the government emblem and Sports Authority of India logo from all its letterheads and communications in April, after reports surfaced of it allegedly seeking ‘fees’ in lakhs from students looking to enrol for international sporting events despite being derecognised by the government . All states were also cautioned on the SGFI then. The SGFI image also took a beating when its President since 2016 – wrestler Sushil Kumar- was arrested for murder of a fellow wrestler.
The SGFI has been riven by mismanagement and acute factionalism and is being run on a constitution with ‘serious flaws’ that enable to ‘perpetuate the hold’ of certain individuals over the Federation which re-appointed now jailed wrestler Sushil Kumar as President in 2021 in violation of ministry instructions, the order adds.