A working group on Wednesday recommended a slew of measures, including implementation of the Right to Information Act (RTI), to help improve sports governance in India.
The recommendations for the National Sports Development Bill (NSDB) are for all National Sports Federations (NSFs), including the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), as well as the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).
After the first draft of the NSDB was shot down by the Union Cabinet in August 2011, causing huge embarrassment to the Ajay Maken-headed sports ministry, the revised recommendations have discreetly been diluted— particularly to make the BCCI happy — so that further red faces are avoided.
It is widely believed that one of the reasons the Cabinet had rejected the Bill was because of the influence that the BCCI exerted through several powerful ministers/politicians. All NSFs too opposed the Bill in one voice.
The fresh draft seems soft on the BCCI because the ministry has suffered embarrassment once, when the Bill was rejected. It doesn’t want to face a similar situation again.
"It wants this Bill to pass, and it can do it by not antagonising the BCCI,” a ministry official told Mail Today. One of the revised draft Bill’s requirements, under 20(1) in Chapter VI (Recognition and Accreditation of National Sport Federation), for NSFs is to get registered with sports ministry.
The BCCI has been strongly objected to this, saying that it doesn’t take any financial assistance from the government. So, in the revised draft, this point has been very cleverly diluted by playing with words.
Now, under this clause, recognition of an NSF has been linked to the international federation for that sport, instead of the Indian government. This would lessen the anger of the BCCI, which had vehemently opposed the original draft, calling it “draconian” and “state- sponsored repression”. The other part that has been subtly altered, apparently for the BCCI, is the use of word ‘India’.
On December 13, 2010, Mail Today had reported that the ministry was ready to “go full distance and if the cricket Board doesn’t fall in line with the age and tenure guidelines, the government would invoke the National Emblem Act as the BCCI uses the word ‘India’ in its name”. Now, with a change at the helm in the sports ministry, the stand towards the BCCI has changed too. A source who is well versed with both drafts, said that discreet changes have been made in Chapter IV (Unethical practices in Sports) and Chapter IX (Applicability of Right to Information Act), clearly appease the BCCI.
“Now, no NSF will have objection to abide by the ‘Unethical practices in Sports’ and ‘Applicability of Right to Information Act’. The BCCI too will happily abide by these rules. And by doing this the BCCI can continue to represent India at international/ bilateral matches without ‘India’ being taken out from its name,” said the official.
Lawyer Rahul Mehra, who was one of the 12 members of a working group that drafted the Bill, resigned on May 31 alleging that the committee members were indirectly told to go soft on the BCCI. The draft was revised and former Justice Mukul Mudgal headed the working group.
If the proposals, finally, take the shape of a Bill, it could signal the end of innings of veteran administrators like VK Malhotra, Randhir Singh and Suresh Kalmadi.
Chapter IV (A) 13.1, which deals with doping, could also bring BCCI under the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA).
Diluted draft Bill is soft on the BCCIBy Qaiser Mohammad Ali | Mail Today – Thu 11 Jul, 2013 8:37 AM IST
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