Cornered Sports Minister hits back at federation chiefs

New regulation has backing of political parties: M S Gill
Last Updated 04 May 2010, 18:17 IST

“I guess the current protest is frankly because my friends (in federations) want unlimited tenures which don’t exist even in IOC and most major sports federations in the world,” Gill told PTI in an interview. The new regulation suggests National Sports Federation (NSF) presidents, which includes long-standing Indian Olympic Association chief Suresh Kalmadi, cannot occupy the post for more than 12 years, with or without break, while secretaries and treasurers can serve eight years at a stretch and can seek a re-election only after a four-year gap. “We studied the International Olympic Council (IOC) regulation and they require their president to have a 12-year term in total, no more, and to retire at 70.

“Therefore, our NSF presidents can continue for 12 years even continuous. What more could we do?” Gill asked.

The Minister said the new regulation has the backing of all political parties and is in fact a softer version of the original 1975 guideline.
“On April 22, there was a full debate on my ministry in the Rajya Sabha and all parties, barring none, urged me to have the regulation to limit terms (of the sports administrators), this being the demand of the sports people and the public for long,” Gill said.

“I studied the issue with my officers and gave a considered order which should be read and re-read for total understanding,” he said.
Gill said all he did was to bring back an old regulation and in fact relaxed the norm to allow NSF presidents to continue for 12 years, instead of eight suggested by the original guideline.

“I have only restored the regulation of the Indira Gandhi government. For the sake of the federation office-bearers, I have in fact softened the regulation and it’s milder than the 1975 direction,” he said.
The Minister also pointed out that the regulation doesn’t mean the NSF office-bearers who have overstayed have to vacate the positions right now.
“We have also made it clear in the order that no one is to be disturbed right now,” he said.

According to the regulation, Kalmadi, who has been at the IOA helm since 1996, can continue till 2012 when the next election of the association takes place. Later, speaking outside the Parliament, Gill said the new regulation will have no impact on the Commonwealth Games. “We have made it clear that all office bearers (sports bodies) continue their work and as and when future elections come which are mainly in 2012, 2013 and 2014, these regulations will apply,” Gill said.

(Published 04 May 2010, 18:16 IST)

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