Crucial in BCCI restructure, National Sports Bill still on the back burner | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Crucial in BCCI restructure, National Sports Bill still on the back burner

The Supreme Court’s decision to implement the Lodha committee recommendations has pushed the BCCI in the corner. The winds of change have blown in fast and knocked the stuffing out of the old hands that steer the money-spinning machinery.

cricket Updated: Jul 27, 2016 10:27 IST
Kushal Phatarpekar
Former MCA president Sharad Pawar recently retired from sport administration after the Lodha recommendations put a age limit of 70 for BCCI officials and its affiliates.
Former MCA president Sharad Pawar recently retired from sport administration after the Lodha recommendations put a age limit of 70 for BCCI officials and its affiliates. (Getty Images)

The Supreme Court’s decision to implement the Lodha committee recommendations has pushed the BCCI in the corner. The winds of change have blown in fast and knocked the stuffing out of the old hands that steer the money-spinning machinery.

With restrictions ranging from age-caps to tenure limitations, the board and its affiliates don’t have much room to wriggle out of the situation. Handed a six-month time frame to implement the changes, the implementation phase will be anything but straightforward.

While, the BCCI is still in a huddle, their former head and incumbent president of the Mumbai Cricket Association, Sharad Pawar, recognised his fate and came forth to announce his retirement from sports administration. He now becomes the first senior functionary to announce his exit following the ruling, signaling a change which many are hopeful could bring a much-needed change into the field of sports administration.

Pawar quit after his position became untenable under the Lodha committee recommendations that bar individuals over the age of 70 and office-bearers, who had exhausted nine years in one sports body, from assuming any role in the BCCI or its affiliates.

Justice Lodha cited the draft National Sports Development Bill of 2013 as basis for some of its crucial recommendations, including the rules pertaining to age-cap and tenure.

The National Sports Development draft bill was floated as a unique law through which sports associations could be freed from the clutches of politicians and reforms of clean governance and transparency could be implemented in these bodies.

Sadly, the bill never made it past the cabinet in 2011 and even now remains on the back burner despite the change in governments.

Incidentally, the draft bill ran through a number of issues and saw opposition from many quarters. It was contended then that the BCCI had refused to come under the sports bill and had even termed it draconian.

The original version of the sports bill, which was first drafted two years ago targeted the BCCI, saying it will have to adhere to the regulations laid by the ministry like other national sports federations.

A working group headed by Justice Mukul Mudgal had been advised to prepare the new draft sports bill.

The committee included a list of senior sportspersons such as Olympic gold medal-winning shooter Abhinav Bindra and former India hockey skipper Viren Rasquinha, sports administrators and legal experts.

The draft was submitted to sports minister Jitendra Singh, but has still not been passed and remains in cold storage as there seems to be no consensus.

A sports code has been in place since then. The code is a set of guidelines for federations dependent on government funding. These guidelines direct national sports federations to follow age caps, tenure limits and election procedures. Through the Supreme Court verdict, the BCCI now effectively follows a majority of the guidelines prescribed by the sports code.

However, unlike the Lodha recommendations, the guidelines of the sports code do not apply to state bodies of these federations.

The ongoing parliament session is a good opportunity to revisit this draft bill. Incidentally, the bill has yet to come for discussion in any of the parliamentary sessions so far.