Former athletes voice support in favour of Sports Bill

Former athletes voice support in favour of Sports Bill

The panel including eight former sports icon and Pankaj Advani, said the IOA should read the bill properly first and point out any specific clauses which they think is intrusive and encouraged a healthy debate on the issue.

"I think the IOA is ill-informed, they are not against it. It is a hard mentality. The athletes are the most important part of any sport and this bill will create a system which will get us more medals. It is a step in the right direction," former India tennis player Manisha Malhotra said. The sportspersons also welcomed the provisions of providing 25 per cent reservation to athletes in the executive bodies of different federations.

Former India football skipper Baichung Bhutia said the bill at no point interferes with the working of the federations. "IOA is shooting in the air. It is a misconception that the bill interfers with the federations. We are supporting the 25 per cent representation for players as for the first time it brings sportspersons in the picture. This bill is a great initiative," Bhutia said.

Former sprint queen Ashwini Nachappa said neither IOA or any opposing federation have so far come out with any sort of explaination and are giving just blind statements.

"Nobody have come out to explain which are the clauses which are intrusive. It is a blind statement to term the bill as draconian. Actually the bill is just trying to incorporate what is there in International Olympic Charter," Nachappa said in a media interaction organized by FICCI.

Former India cricket skipper Kapil Dev said it is a shame that some federations do not want sportspersons to come forward and be a part of the administrative process.
"If you can't even give 25 per cent representations to the sportspersons who have given their entire life to the game then what can we expect," he said.

"India can do 100 per cent better if we have the right policies. It is a first initiative to bring sportspersons to the fore and it is a shame that some people don't want us to come forward," he added.

Former India hockey captain Viren Rasquinha said they are not against the IOA and encouraged a healthy debate which can mould public opinion about the bill. "It would professionalise the sports and encourage the youth to take up sports. We are not against IOA nor it is a BCCI vs bill issue. We want to have a healthy debate and have a bill which is inclusive in nature," he said.

Asked if there was a possibility of International Olympic Committee (IOC) banning India from taking part in the quadrenial event, Athens Olympics silver medallist shooter Rajvardhan Singh Rathore said, "On what basis can IOC ban India from Olympics? Is the bill so wrong?

"We know it has been disapproved by the cabinet and we know why it is so. People who have vested interest should stay away from taking decision."

Rathore also appealed to the media to support the initiative and generate public opinion on the issue so that the bill can be passed in the cabinet. Former shotgun marksman Moraad Ali Khan, who is currently a government observer, however, said that IOC can ban India but it is for the IOA to see.

"It can be possible but that is something for IOA to fight. If they are for the sports in the country then they will support the bill and ensure that the sportspersons do not suffer and they will fight for it," he said.

Putting his weight behind the bill, badminton legend Prakash Padukone said the bill will raise the standard of sports in the country. "It is good for Indian sports. If you go through the bill in details, you will find the atheletes are the main persons addressed and it would definetely raise the standard of the game and help India to win more medals. It is not against any individual or federation," he said.

India's only individual Olympic gold medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra also extended his "whole-hearted" support to the bill in a recorded message and said it would help in fullfilling the aspirations of the future generation.

Former India spinner and current BJP MP Kirti Azad also spoke in support of the bill in another recorded message, saying it will clearly streamline the functioning of sports federations and bring in efficiency and transparency.