The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) chief Narinder Batra has said that the Kabaddi team from India taking part in World Championship in Pakistan cannot use the world ‘India’ as none of the authorities he knows of has approved its participation.

A kabaddi team claiming to represent India landed in Lahore (Pakistan) on Saturday creating controversy as to who approved their entry into the 10-nation event.

“The IOA has not approved and it has also not been approved by the federation so I don’t know who has gone,” Batra told IANS. “Whether 60 or 100 have gone, I have no idea. The kabaddi federation, which is a member of IOA, has confirmed that they have not sent anyone. I have seen statements from the (sports) ministry which confirm they have not approved anyone. So I don’t know who they are and what the story is.”

He added, “It has got nothing to do with Indian sports.”

As per the official procedure, a team that wishes to participate in overseas tournaments has to seek the permission, its national federation will communicate the same to sports ministry which then forwards the request to external affairs for political clearance. The home ministry then gives security clearance and the procedure is followed even if the government is not funding their tour.

“As long as our member unit has not cleared it, they cannot use the word ‘India.’ It has to come through IOA and the government, only then you can use that word. Some individuals with Indian passport go and play there as India, that is not how sports are run. But then, I can never predict anything about Pakistan, that’s beyond my control. They can do whatever they want,” Batra further said.

The Amateur Kabbadi Federation of India (AKFI) has also not cleared their participaion. “No permission was ever granted by AKFI to any team to go to Pakistan and play any kabaddi match there. We came to know about it only after information was sought,” AKFI administrator Justice (Retd) SP Garg said.

“AKFI does not support any such activity. Legal action may be taken against the defaulters,” he added.

Kabaddi teams from Pakistan, India, Canada, the United States, Australia, England, Iran, Kenya, Sierra Leone and Azerbaijan are taking part in the event.