No con­sen­sus yet on re­vised Sports Code

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Sport - Sabi.Hus­[email protected] times­group.com

New Delhi: If one is hop­ing for In­dian sports to be­come more pro­fes­sional and sports ad­min­is­tra­tors to be more ac­count­able, then the wait will get longer. The ar­du­ous ex­er­cise to end the so-called po­lit­i­cal pa­tron­age in the coun­try’s sports ad­min­is­tra­tion has come to a naught with the sports min­istry back­ing out from im­ple­ment­ing the re­vised draft of the pro­posed na­tional Sports Code. The code, if im­ple­mented, would have barred min­is­ters, par­lia­men­tar­i­ans, mem­bers of leg­isla­tive as­sem­blies (MLAs) and bu­reau­crats from tak­ing up po­si­tions in the In­dian Olympic As­so­ci­a­tion (IOA) and the na­tional sports fed­er­a­tions (NSFs).

On Fri­day, a meet­ing was held be­tween the min­istry of­fi­cials, IOA’s top brass and NSF heads here to dis­cuss and de­lib­er­ate on the re­vised Code, is­sues con­cern­ing In­dia’s prepa­ra­tion and as­pi­ra­tion for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and draw­ing a roadmap for a rich medal-haul at the 2024 Los An­ge­les and 2028 Paris Sum­mer Games. How­ever, the fo­cus firmly re­mained on the re­vised Code and its con­tentious clauses as there had been a lot of grand­stand­ing by the min­istry, IOA and NSF of­fi­cials ahead of the meet.

How­ever, at the end of the de­tailed di­a­logue, sports min­is­ter Kiren Ri­jiju in­formed that the gov­ern­ment was open to re­view the clause in the re­vised Code which bars min­is­ters, MPs, MLAs and pub­lic ser­vants to be part of sports ad­min­is­tra­tion and in­formed about form­ing an ex­pert panel to look into the con­tentious is­sue. The gov­ern­ment’s stand meant the IOA and NSFs emerged the clear vic­tors in this im­broglio.

All the ex­er­cise un­der­taken by the gov­ern­ment in 2015, when retd jus­tice C K Ma­ha­jan-led com­mit­tee re­vised the sports code 2011 and later In­jeti Sr­ni­vas-led com­mit­tee fur­ther stud­ied the draft as part of the ‘Sports Code for Good Gov­er­nance 2017’ has so far proved fu­tile.

Anew com­mit­tee has again been pro­posed by the gov­ern­ment, which will go into the modal­i­ties of the re­vised Code and pro­pose changes to it, which in all prob­a­bil­ity would suit the IOA and NSFs’ style of func­tion­ing. For the time be­ing, the orig­i­nal Sports Code of 2011 will form part of the coun­try’s sports ad­min­is­tra­tion and will be used for fu­ture NSF elec­tions.

“With re­gard to Sports Code, we have al­ready taken a de­ci­sion that this is a tech­ni­cal is­sue, this is an is­sue re­lated to pol­icy, so an ex­pert com­mit­tee will look into it at an ap­pro­pri­ate time,” Ri­jiju said. “Along with the IOA, we will form an ex­pert com­mit­tee which will take a call but not now. I want a Sports Code which is uni­ver­sally ac­cept­able. Why are courts in­ter­ven­ing in sport­ing mat­ters? If they are re­quired to in­ter­vene it means there is a fail­ure of sports mech­a­nism. There will be no is­sue be­cause all are on board whether it is IOA or NSFs. Sports Code will be re­viewed with full con­sen­sus.”

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