It must seem silly that the Board of Control for Cricket in India and the sports ministry should joust over the Arjuna Award, but quite honestly why should we have expected anything different? The two sides have been at loggerheads over the past couple of seasons; if anything, the Arjuna dispute is at least less inane than some of the others that we have witnessed.
For those joining in late, the newest episode in this long- running soap opera is about the sports ministry claiming that the BCCI did not nominate anybody for the Arjuna this year. The BCCI’s counter-claim is that they did not receive any application form to make such a submission.
The sports ministry has countered the counter-claim by saying that the form need not be sent since it is available online. The BCCI parries this thrust by saying that it did not receive any intimation about when the process had begun…. If you haven’t been bugged and bored by these claims and counter-claims, I have.
This tu-tu-main-main is not just nonsensical, but demeans sports and sportspersons. Why is it so difficult for somebody in the sports ministry to make a phone call or send an email to a senior functionary in the BCCI about sending in nominations? By the same token, if for some reason the intimation has not been received from the ministry, why can’t a BCCI official make a demand? The Arjuna Awards are an annual, not a rare, occurrence so there is no case for being ignorant.
Moreover, it’s not that cricketers have not been given the Arjuna in the past.
The BCCI’s recalcitrance in such matters has been seen in the past too. Last year in England, the Indian team did not go to the ICC awards claiming that no proper invitation had been received.
Some cynics attribute this to cricketers being heftily paid and uncaring about awards which carry no prize money, but I don’t buy this.
All sportspersons, cricketers not excepted, treasure recognition from the government and the Arjuna Award is among the most pertinent. Conversely, not making a serious attempt at having a nominee from the country’s biggest sport undermines the award.
Even allowing for the fact that Indian cricket has not fared with great credit since the World Cup victory last year, there have been some noteworthy performers who would merit attention. Virat Kohli for instance, who has grown by leaps and bounds in the past 12 months.
Actually this tug-of-war between BCCI officials and the ministry is for an altogether different reason.
It is no secret that the sports ministry has been desperately trying to get the cricket administration under its umbrella which the BCCI has been fighting tooth and nail.
Given the government’s dismal record with other sports federations, I am not in favour of the BCCI coming into its fold though I don’t see why it should be reluctant to come under the purview of the Right To Information Act.
But that is a larger debate which should never have been extended to the Arjuna Award in which the only sufferer is the player. Such a shame!
GOVT SHARPENS ATTACK ON BCCI
The sports ministry on Friday went ballistic against the BCCI over the issue of notification for annual awards as it disclosed the despatch records etc.
The BCCI claims that the ministry failed to intimate it for the various annual sports awards like Arjuna, Rajiv Khel Ratna besides others.
“In continuation of the earlier facts disclosed, the ministry would like to confirm that the letters to all the sports federations were despatched to all these organisations/ entities, including the BCCI on Jan 27, 2012, as recorded by ministry’s despatch register for postal dak- S. No. 166 and file No. F- 4- 3/ 12- SP IV,” the ministry said in a statement.
“Further, it is reiterated that SPS Tomar, under- secretary ( sports) spoke to Dalpat Vadolikar, assistant manager ( ops) in BCCI, Mumbai, between April 18- 20, asking him to send nominations for Arjuna Awards etc. expeditiously since the last date for receiving such nominations, April 30, was drawing to a close on.”