'We will respect autonomy'

Minister defends Sports Code
Last Updated 15 May 2013, 18:38 IST

The Sports Minister Jitendra Singh in his speech at the International Olympic Committee headquarters at Lausanne, Switzerland, on Wednesday, said the government of India respected the autonomy of Indian Olympic Association and National Sports Federations and had never intervened in their functioning.

“The Government of India respects the autonomy of the IOA and the NSF. There has been no case where the Government has intervened in the day to day functioning of the NSF. Even when there is a dispute within the NSF, the Government of India prefers to respect the views of the International Federation rather than impose its will,” Singh told the gathering.

Singh said it was the Indian judiciary not the government, which asked the IOA and the NSFs for the implementation of sports code.  “Strangely, the Sports Code was not imposed by the Government. In the case of the IOA, it was imposed by the High Court of Delhi which is completely independent of Government,” he said.

“Over the years the judiciary has repeatedly expressed its dismay at the state of affairs in many National Sports Federations. Because of the absence of any clear guiding principles of governance among the NSF, the judiciary has repeatedly taken recourse to the Sports Code and has insisted on the NSF adhering to its principles. Such directions are binding on the concerned NSF.” Singh insisted the sports code has been accepted by most NSFs in India, including the IOA.

“There is almost complete acceptance of the Sports Code among the NSF in India. The Government of India deals with 54 NSFs and 53 of them have voluntarily accepted the Sports Code. The only exception is the Archery Federation of India, led by Mr Vijay Kumar Malhotra. A total of 34 of the NSF have amended their constitutions the rest, except archery, have promised to do so by June 30, 2013.

“Even the IOA is no longer averse to the age and tenure restrictions of the Sports Code. We have all come here today with a common agreement. The IOA constituents have agreed to amend the constitution of the IOA to incorporate some age and tenure restrictions. These restrictions are exactly those that are in the IOC constitution.”

Shooting star Abhinav Bindra, part of the sports ministry delegation to Lausanne, said the IOC was worried about the governance of Indian sports.     “IOC is worried about ethics and governance in Indian sports. They feel discredited persons should not be part of IOA. I also share the same view,” Bindra told an Indian TV news channel from Lausanne.

Asked when IOC would lift the ban on IOA, Bindra said: “I won’t know when that will happen. I was here to give my views on the matter and I have done that. I wanted to let IOC know how we need reforms in our sports administration. The IOC also understands that governance is the main problem. I am positive the suspension will be revoked.”

DH News Service

(Published 15 May 2013, 18:26 IST)

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