Thursday, February 22, 2024

IOA, NSFs ask PM to scrap controversial sports Bill

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New Delhi: A 12-member delegation of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and National Sports Federations (NSF) met Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh here on Monday and asked him to intervene in scrapping the “draconian” National Sports Development Bill proposed by the Sports Ministry.

Led by acting IOA president Vijay Kumar Malhotra, the officials met the Prime Minister at his residence for 35 minutes.

IOA vice-president Tarlochan Singh, Hockey India secretary general Narendra Batra, shooting federation secretary Avtar Singh Sethi, judo’s secretary Jagdish Tytler were also present along with cricket board’s vice-president Rajeev Shukla and senior member Anurag Thakur.

Malhotra said that the Prime Minister gave them a patient hearing and was sympathetic towards their cause.

“We told the Prime Minister that this is a draconian Bill and that we have rejected the bill outright. Dr Singh said he doesn’t know much about this Bill and will ask the Sports ministry to submit a detailed report,” said Malhotra.

The officials also told the Prime Minister that they are fine with Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) auditing the accounts of sports organisations and the provision for free and fair elections.

Malhotra said sports has always been a state subject and now the government wants to have full control over sports by introducing this Bill.

“Sports has always been a state subject, we don’t want the government to have total control over sports. The bill is in violation of the Olympic Charter and India could be banned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for government interference. Kuwait was also banned by the IOC for government interference,” said Malhotra.

Malhotra also presented to the Prime Minister the IOC letter, threatening the IOA with suspension if their autonomy is infringed.

Shukla said the bill would also empower the government to interfere in selection matters.

The proposed Bill proposes an age limit of 70 for all office bearers, not more than 12 consecutive years for NSF heads and eight years for other office bearers, 25 per cent reservation for sportspersons in various sports bodies, transparency, secret balloting in elections, strict provisions against sexual harassment and doping. (Agencies)

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