Sunday, June 26, 2022

Patel’s exit an addition to sad state of NSFs in India

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An order by the Delhi High Court has ejected Praful Patel from the chair of All-India Football Federation. Another sports body in the country becomes headless, to be run by an administrator. Another chapter is added to the sad state of National Sports Federations in the country.

Now a court-appointed administrator – former Chief Election Commissioner of India SY Quraishi – will run the AIFF until the next election. The Court has directed to conduct the elections within five months.

Board of Control in India and some of its State bodies are governed or controlled by the court-appointed administrators. The official list of the National Sports Federations on Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports website reveals the questionable status/conduct of a number of NSFs. High priority sports like athletics and badminton has no name to mention in the columns meant for the president and secretary. This sad tale starts with the governing body of a high priority discipline like athletics.

  • Athletics: The AFI elections were held on 15th April 2016. Even after a year and a half “Report under Examination” remains the status on the Ministry website. The sport is on the HIGH PRIORITY list.
  • Badminton: Badminton Association of India does not have the names of the president and the secretary to mention in the respective columns. The elected president Dr Akhilesh Das Gupta is no more and the elected secretary Dr Vijai Sinha is jailed after an internal inquiry conducted by the BAI. The sport is on the HIGH PRIORITY list.
  • Bridge: Elections were conducted on 25 March, 2017. The report is awaited even after seven months. The sport is on the PRIORITY list.
  • Football: The Delhi High Court has appointed an internal administrator. The status of the ministry portal reads “Elections held on 21.12.2016. Matter sub-judice in Delhi High Court”. The court has also ordered elections within five months. The sport is on the PRIORITY list.
  • Golf: Election held on 18-10-2016. Report is awaited even after a year and two months. The sport is on the PRIORITY list.
  • Kabaddi: Elections held on 23.04.2017. Report awaited even as six months have lapsed. The sport is on the PRIORITY list.
  • Table Tennis: Elections held on 30th January 2017. Report Under Examination. The sport is on the PRIORITY list.

Click here for the complete list of National Sports Federations.

The tussle for power in the sport of boxing had not come to a complete truce even after the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) giving due recognition to Boxing Federation of India (BFI) under the leadership of Ajay Singh. The factionalism and arm-twisting by the rival body is not over yet. The move has rather instigated a factional war between the IOA president and the secretary.

The national sports federations, while not fully adhering to a much lenient code of conduct in force, are faced with a much stringent revised version that might have strong clauses to keep politicians and bureaucrats out of the corridors of sports power. Lend more power to the sportspersons.

Noted sports activist and lawyer Rahul Mehra is the chief crusader, working relentlessly for the revised sports code. “Sportspersons in the country are doing well. Not the administrators. In fact, sportspersons in the country are doing well despite the administrators not doing well. The administrators who play dirty politics damaging the interest of sports must be shunted out,” says Rahul Mehra.

The powers that be in the BCCI, in spite of their wings being clipped, are trying to evade as long as they can the Lodha Commission recommendations to implement reforms in the richest sports body in the country.

That will come later. For now, the functional heads of the top two sports’ governing bodies are not averse to washing dirty linen in public. Exchanging and trading accusations against each other. From trivial issues of complimentary match tickets to the crucial subject of governance and administration. The presidents of the BCCI – the richest sports body in the country – and the Indian Olympic Association – the apex governing body for the Olympic sports in India – are on warpaths.

The IOA secretary Rajiv Mehta and N Ramachandran have been busy accusing each other of “defying Olympic charter” and “compromising with the Olympic movement” for personal agenda.

In the BCCI, the scenario appears more pathetic when the officiating president and secretary spat in public over the trivial issue of complementary passes given to a corporate client. They write letters to accuse and warn each other and the communiqués are selectively leaked to media.

Advocate Mehra’s observation that “the sportspersons in the country are doing well despite the administrators not doing well” appears just apt to sum up the prevailing mess in Indian sports.

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