Monitor conduct of sports administrators, says panel

With non-sportspersons heading most of the national sports federations and issues of misgovernance and corruption coming to light, a parliamentary panel has now recommended monitoring “powerful” administrators with government access to avoid graft and wrongful selection of players and coaches.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee’s attention was drawn to the aspect of non-sportspersons heading national associations of various sports by eminent sportspersons like Pargat Singh (hockey) and Ashwini Nachappa (athletics).

“In other words, the whole federation structure was dominated by non-sportspersons.

Position was same at state level. As a result, all these federations were no more sports oriented. All such heads were powerful people having access to government but were extremely busy with parliamentary or legislative work. Situation was such that governance of federations has been left in the hands of clerical staff,” the report tabled in Parliament on Thursday said.

Several leading politicians like Sharad Pawar, Arun Jaitley, Rajiv Shukla, C P Joshi, Suresh Kalmadi, V K Malhotra, Abhay Chautala, Lalu Prasad and Anurag Thakur had been heading or part of sports federations. The Union Sports Ministry had told the panel that some of the major problem areas of these bodies were lack of professional management and factionalism.

Sportspersons told the panel that the structure and composition of these federations, being dominated by politicians and bureaucrats, were run as their fiefdom.

In the damning report, the panel said issues of “misgovernance, maladministration, wrongful selection of players and coaches, non-transparency in elections etc” were rampant in these federations.

“There is a need to give due representation to sportspersons and ex-sportspersons and other experts from the field of sports in these bodies. The idea of having an independent Election Commission for the conduct of free and fair elections of federations is justified,” the panel said.

Ethical conduct

Further, it said, ethical conduct of all functionaries of federations and players should be monitored to avoid corruption and wrong selection.

“The committee feels that the functioning of federations needs to be streamlined so that the development and promotion of sports does not suffer and the country is able to enhance its performance in the international events and make its presence felt,” it said.
The panel said it appeared that there were “underlying, not very visible factors” resulting in the stakeholders working at “cross purposes”.

In the process, the panel reminded, aspiring sportspersons became the victims of circumstances.

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