Maken vs federations: Who will win?Oct 20, 2011 | Amit Tiwari
There is a proverb, All\\\’s well that ends well. But this saying doesn’t support the transparency of sports federations in India.
After Commonwealth Games scam and financial irregularities in BCCI’s cash-rich Indian Premier League, there was a need to bring different sports bodies under one umbrella to make it more transparent and accountable.
The CWG scam could be avoided if there was an Ombudsman to accommodate the Indian court of arbitration for sports.
Undoubtedly, Union Sports Minister Ajay Maken made a sincere attempt in new National Sports Bill to made sports bodies in India more accountable and transparent. But all went in vein as Government bowed to monopoly of BCCI and Indian Olympic Association (IOA).
Result was expected; the union cabinet disapproved the National Sports Bill as it has some contentious issues, like age of sports bosses (70 years) and their tenure caps.
Most importantly, Bill had proposal to bring BCCI under the ambit of Right To Information Act (RTI). BCCI had lodged strong protest over the clause against revealing its financial transactions through the Right to Information (RTI) Act and bringing cricketers under anti-doping WADA rules.
Everyone is aware of the fact that BCCI is the most powerful autonomous sports description in India. The amended Sports bill is clear indication that BCCI has forced Sports Ministry to tone down few of its clause in the bill.
Backtracking on several key clauses, Maken has altered 14 points in the new Sports Bill but he stuck to the clause that caps age and tenures for sports administrators.
In the earlier draft, Sports Bill had advocated bringing cricketers under the ambit of WADA’s ‘whereabouts clause’. Ministry had contended that when sportspersons from Indian Olympic Association are following the WADA norms so why cricketers are exempted. But in the new draft, Sports Ministry has removed this clause from the new sports draft.
It is noteworthy here that Indian cricketers had also opposed ICC’s rule to inform their availability in advance for dope Test under Whereabouts Clause of WADA.
The new sports bill also altered the RTI clause for BCCI. Maken said that there is a exclusion clause added in the bill which keeps queries like fitness, training and availability of a cricketer out of RTI purview as it may benefit opponents. But he mentioned that BCCI will have to reveal its financial matter under the RTI act.
However, BCCI’s legal department is studying the revised bill and will respond accordingly.
Meanwhile, the government has sent the revised draft to Indian Olympic association to go through the proposed clause within 14 days.
But the million dollar question is remained unanswered. Will the revise draft get nod of cabinet.
Most probably not! IOA has already described that Bill as \\\’draconian\\\’ and rejected it, saying it will strangulate the autonomy of the sports federations.
It is clear that the new sports bill has several caps on Sports Federations, which will end their monopoly and end the doors of making money in future. That’s why all the bosses of various sports federation are joined chorus to oppose the amendments.