Delink sports from politics: Odisha Congress leader

Bhubaneswar, June 7 (IANS) Senior Odisha Congress leader Niranjan Patnaik Friday urged the central government to take immediate measures to delink sports from politics.

In a letter to Union Minister of State for Sports minister Jitendra Singh, the former president of the state unit of the Congress said the government must not allow any sports body to become so powerful as to flout basic legal principles.

"Cricket has a mass following in our country and enjoys overwhelming popularity, which has resulted in big revenues to the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India)," Patnaik said.

"Does BCCI need so much money really? Yes, some level of sustainability is necessary. But, more importantly, there has to be greater devolution of revenues to state and district associations," he stated in the letter.

Patnaik has urged the sports minister to introduce the Sports Bill urgently in parliament, and hand over the management of sports to professional managers to stop the rot from spreading and save the game of cricket.

The Congress leader regretted the politicisation of sports, which, he said, had severely dented sporting excellence in the country.