Gill acts on sports fiefs

Politicos to lose top posts in national federations

Gill acts on sports fiefs

The ministry modified a 1975 regulation that means Indian Olympic Association chief Suresh Kalmadi and several NSF chiefs including VK Malhotra (archery), Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa (cycling), VK Verma (badminton) and B S Adityan (volleyball) cannot seek re-election after their terms expire.

The move is also being interpreted as a fallout of Sports Minister MS Gill’s ongoing feud with Kalmadi, who has been at the helm since 1996. The government was asked to make its stand clear on the issue before May 5 by the Delhi High Court on a Public Interest Litigation.

The ministry said it has decided to restore the modified tenure clause, which was kept in abeyance by former sports minister Uma Bharti in 2001, to encourage “professional management, good governance, transparency, accountability, democratic elections in NSFs, including IOA.”

The original 1975 regulation introduced by the Indira Gandhi government capped the tenure of the president, the secretary and the treasurer at not more than two consecutive terms of four years each.

The modified clause caps the tenure of the president of an NSF, including IOA, to 12 years “with or without break”. For the secretary and the treasurer, it shall not be more than two successive tenures of four years each. “The secretary and the treasurer shall be eligible for standing for re-election to the post after a minimum interval of four years,” the Ministry said. “Further, there will be a retirement age of 70 years for all the members and OBs,” it added.

Most of the NSFs have politicians at the top, while bureaucrats and businessmen too have been found clinging onto the top posts for long. NSF’s have resisted previous efforts to limit the tenure of office-bearers, citing the autonomy provided to them in the Olympic Charter. The ministry, however, pointed out a 2009 Delhi HC observation that the tenure clause is not a violation of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) charter.

The Sports Ministry said it has examined and found that major international sports bodies, including that of hockey, badminton and swimming, have their own tenure limit. “IOC itself, which is mother body of all sporting federations, enforces limits on the tenure of its executive members, vice-presidents and the president, besides enforcing a retirement age of seventy years on all its members elected after December, 1999,” the Ministry pointed out.

“Hence, it is clear that the practice of imposing the limits on the tenure of the office bearers of sporting bodies is widely prevalent and internationally accepted and is also one of the critical ingredients of good governance, which prevents development of vested interests in the management of sporting bodies,” it added.

Reckoning that the modified clause brings NSF tenure regulation in line with that of IOC, the Ministry said, “The above mentioned tenure limit shall come into operation with immediate effect.”

Clinging to the top

* SURESH KALMADI: IOA president since 1996

*VIJAY KUMAR MALHOTRA: Archery Federation of India president since 1973. Also IOA president.

*LALIT BHANOT: Athletics Federation of India secretary from 1988.

*YASHWANT SINHA: All India Tennis Association president since 2000

*JAGDISH TYTLER: Judo Federation of India president from 1996

*S S DHINDSA: Cycling Federation of India president from 1995

*AJAY SINGH CHAUTALA: Table Tennis Federation of India president since 2000

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