HI-IHF merger plan is balanced one, says Maken

HI-IHF merger plan is balanced one, says Maken

Minister firm on enforcing Sports Bill

Taking forward the National Sports Bill — the idea for which was floated by his predecessors — has been a mission of sorts for Maken and on his first visit to Bangalore after taking over the reins, he spoke on the bill and various other sporting concerns in an interaction with the media.

Excerpts:
On Hockey India-Indian Hockey Federation merger: Hockey India is the body recognised by the international hockey federation (FIH). That’s why we have allowed them to conduct the Champions Trophy and the Olympic qualifiers. India will benefit by having the Olympic qualifiers in our backyard. We don’t want to let that chance go in the interest of the game.

The merger plan we have chalked out (including adding 16 members from IHF into the executive board making it a 33-member panel) is a balanced formula giving equal opportunity to both parties.

Since HI is the body recognised by the international federation, we felt this was the easier option (naming HI as the official body). With the Olympics naring, we have no other option. IHF has time till tomorrow to come up with their response. I hope they will agree to the plan. If they have any issues, we are ready to discuss with them and find a solution.

On the Sports Bill: We are firm on going ahead with the bill and I want to have it presented in the monsoon session of the parliament itself. There is no doubt in my mind that they should follow the basic principles of good governance. The right of the sportspersons to have 25 percent reservation in executive bodies of federations should not be diluted. National Sports Federations (NSFs) will be considered public authorities and will come under the RTI.

The election process laid down for the NSFs will not be diluted and they should follow the anti-doping procedures, besides accepting age-fraud detection moves. All NSFs, including the BCCI, will come under its ambit. The Kerala High Court had ruled that the office-bearers of NSFs are public servants, a ruling which the Supreme Court has refused to stay. As they are repositories of public trust, they have to be accountable to the public.

The Justice Mudgal Committee, set up to examine the suggestions on the bill, submitted its report last Saturday and we will soon take a decision on it. Two changes I would like to see is for the government to be less intrusive -- government involvement should be minimal -- and for SAI to be made more accountable. There should not be a feeling that the government is firm only when it comes to National Sports Federations. SAI should also be equally accountable, they should have targets to meet.

On International Olympic Committee’s objections: They have raised objections but logically speaking, they shouldn’t have any objections. We are just following their own basic principles of good governance. More than 50 countries in the world have brought in sports legislations. Age and tenure guidelines are also very much there in IOC.

On age limit for SAI Centre of Excellence trainees (currently 25): If there is a deserving candidate above 25, he should be given a chance to continue. (The LS Ranawat panel on revising the SAI training norms will have its final sitting on July 2 and the age-criteria is set to be altered).

On athletic track at Usha School: We are moving ahead with the plan to lay a synthetic surface there. It is our first attempt to have a private-public partnership, we will wait for it to come up before committing on more such tie-ups. There are certain issues to be sorted out with the Usha School track and the SAI South Centre Director (G Kishore) is meeting Usha on June 22 to sort it out. In the next 12 months, we hope to be ready with it.

On job-reservation for disabled sportspersons and support for their Olympic preparations: I am for it and we will take it up with various departments. At least medal-winners should have reservation in jobs. We will also support them in their preparations for Paralympics but right now, the Paralympic Committee of India is under suspension (on recommendation from the world body).

On Lalit Bhanot continuing as Athletics Federation of India secretary: It’s ridiculous and unfortunate. But if we do something about it, it might be construed as interference in their matters. We wouldn’t want a person chargesheeted by the CBI to be holding on to the post. But if the Sports Bill is passed, we won’t be having officials staying on for long, because of the limit on their tenures.

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