Sports Ministry takes tough stand to counter overage menace

Directs state federations to impose bans on erring athletes

“In the event of conclusive proof that an athlete has committed age fraud, he or she should be banned from participating in any sporting event for a period of two years on the first detection and for five years on any subsequent detection,” the Ministry said in an advisory to the Indian Olympic Association, all National and State Sports Federations and Director General of Sports Authority of India.
The Ministry said a detailed policy to deal with the age fraud would be formulated soon.

“In order to prevent age fraud in sports and ensure fair play, pending formulation of a National Code against age fraud in Sports, the Government has issued detailed guidelines to all sports Federations/associations/bodies to ensure that overage players are not allowed to participate in national and other championships,” the Ministry said in its statement.

The Ministry said age fraud is as big an offence as doping and the federations should deal with it with the same strictness with they deal with drug cheats.
“The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in its communication sent to the President/Secretary General of IOA and all National and State Sports Federations and Director General of SAI has advised them to treat age fraud on the same lines as anti–doping measures as both amount to cheating and violates basic spirit of sport,” it said.

“In the recent past, incidents of age fraud committed by athletes, in some major tournaments and selection trials have come to the notice of the Government, which is a matter of serious concern. In order to ensure fair play, it is imperative that stringent action is taken against athletes found guilty of committing age fraud and also against their abettors,” it added. Elaborating its guidelines on the matter, the Ministry said the federations should issue identity cards to all the national-level athletes, which should mention their age after proper verification.
The Ministry said these identity cards would be mandatory for participation in national and state competitions from February next year.

“The Federation should maintain an exhaustive and diligent record of the age along with proof of age of athletes who have participated in the annual national championships and other tournaments conducted by it”, it said.

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