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Law soon to fix sports bosses' tenure

The allegations of corruption that plagued the Commonwealth Games have had a fallout: the government will bring in a law stipulating the maximum number of terms, the age limit and other criteria for holding positions in national sports federations. Chetan Chauhan reports.

delhi Updated: Feb 20, 2011 00:33 IST
Chetan Chauhan

The allegations of corruption that plagued the Commonwealth Games (CWG) have had a fallout: the government will bring in a law stipulating the maximum number of terms, the age limit and other criteria for holding positions in national sports federations.

This will end the stranglehold several senior politicians have on various sports bodies.

The sports ministry, now headed by Ajay Maken in place of MS Gill, on Friday approved a draft Bill stipulating a maximum term of 12 years for presidents and eight years for all other office-bearers of national sports federations.

The Bill allows these office-bearers to rejoin the federations only after a cooling-off period of four years after the end of their terms but only if they are less than 70 years old.

"It is in accordance with the charter of the International Olympic Committee," a senior ministry official said, adding: "We expect to introduce the Bill in the second half of the budget session."

Several attempts to rein in sports federations since Uma Bharti's stint as sports minister during the NDA regime have failed because of the political clout the associations exerted.

But the government believes that this is the best time to pass the law as several top sports administrators are embroiled in the CWG and other scams.

To prevent any conflict of interest, the draft law also proposes that any person who has been a sports minister cannot join a sports federation for a period of five years after relinquishing his/her ministerial office.

Further, no government official will be allowed to join any sports federation without written permission from his or her cadre controlling authority.

VK Verma was a bureaucrat when he joined the Indian Badminton Association, which he has been heading for the last 13 years.

The new law also prescribes elections through secret ballot, instead of the prevailing practice of voice votes in order to ensure transparency and aims to involve more athletes in the running of sports bodies.