The sports ministry has made a major concession in the revised sports bill after bowing to the influential cricket Board on the controversial whereabouts clause of the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) code.
A nationwide debate raged after the original bill made it mandatory for cricketers to also fall in line and provide daily whereabouts upto three months, as per the WADA clause.
The BCCI opposed it, arguing the information can invade the players’ privacy and compromise their security. It was initially a bone of contention between the Indian Board and the International Cricket Council (ICC) until the governing body agreed that players would be tested only during major tournaments.
The sports ministry ended the stand-off indirectly. The sports minister Ajay Maken said on Monday that on contentious points between the WADA and international federations, it would accept the stand of the governing bodies.
“In view of the BCCI’s objections, we have decided to exempt cricketers from some of the anti-doping norms. The ICC does not follow some WADA norms, and in such cases the rules of international federations will prevail over the WADA Code,” Maken said. “It is not an exemption to BCCI, it is to the ICC.”
The original sports bill was rejected by the cabinet over some of the tough clauses. The new version, however, retains two other contentious clauses — Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and federation chiefs cannot hold office beyond the age of 70 and two terms of four years each.
Maken said the government did not want to curb federations but only wanted to make them accountable. “Since the government is funding them, there should be some sort of transparency in accounts.”
The revised sports bill has also made concessions under the Right to Information (RTI) provisions where the IOA and federations will be exempt from giving out details regarding “selection of players and appointment of coaches, medical health and fitness of players and on doping issues.”