Ministers scupper sports bill

Ministers scupper sports bill

The sports ministry has been asked to “re-work” the national Sports Development Bill, which among other things, proposed to place an upper limit on age of office-bearers of sports federations.

The meeting was attended, among others, by Sharad Pawar, Vilasrao Deshmukh and Farooq Abdullah who head important sporting bodies with clear “conflict of interest”. There is already a debate underway as to why politicians or ministers should run the sporting bodies.

The BCCI has been avoiding government control, arguing that it is an autonomous body not funded by the government. The cricketing body has argued that it was transparent in its administrative and financial dealings.

This bill will bring the BCCI under the provisions of Right to Information (RTI) to provide the information related to its revenue and expenditure. “We need reforms in sports, which we hope the National Sports Bill will bring. Our idea was to introduce the Bill in the monsoon session and we have already done that. Now the inter-ministerial consultation is going on and once it is over, it will go to Parliament for resolution,” Sports Minister Ajay Maken said this week.

The conflict of interest is strongly suggested with several Union Ministers, including Sharad Pawar (ICC President), and state cricket association presidents Vilasrao Deshmukh (Maharashtra), C P Joshi (Rajasthan), Farooq Abdullah (J&K) and Indian Football Association president Praful Patel heading sports bodies. The proposal to regulate sports bodies has gained importance in the backdrop of the massive corruption involved in funding the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

The bill will make it mandatory for the cricketers to undergo random doping tests as it makes National Anti Doping Agency the sole body for all anti-doping measures. This has so far being opposed by the Indian cricket team and the board. The bill also calls for reserving 25 per cent of the seats in the sports bodies for former sportspersons.

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