Draconian! Just because it makes federations accountable?
The Sports Bill has been condemned and hailed as well. As an avid follower of sports, I have been tracking the developments of this “draconian” rule — which, if implemented, will go a long way in shaping the future of the country vis-à-vis sports. Sports federations, which thrive on the taxpayers’ money, must understand that running federations is not a business. Not anymore.india Updated: Nov 26, 2011 02:05 IST
The Sports Bill has been condemned and hailed as well. As an avid follower of sports, I have been tracking the developments of this “draconian” rule — which, if implemented, will go a long way in shaping the future of the country vis-à-vis sports. Sports federations, which thrive on the taxpayers’ money, must understand that running federations is not a business. Not anymore.
Gone are the days when a sportsperson would keep quiet to safeguard his interests. The mindset has changed. Sport is looked upon as a career option, contrary to the age-old idiom kheloge kudoge hoge kharaab, padogo likhoge banoge nawab (If you play sports you will be spoiled, you can be a ruler if you study instead).People do not want corruption at their workplace. Since it is perceived as a career, the sporting arena is the workplace of most of our stars. Sachin Tendulkar's failures are often called "a bad day in office".
Even while the Bill was in its infancy, it excited me as I felt this could be the breakthrough that sports in our country desperately needed. The idea has been floating for a long time but delay in important matters is something we have learned to live with.
Finally, it has arrived. The instant response was: It’s draconian. Why, I asked myself. Perhaps, because it makes the federations accountable.
A sporting icon will want it to happen. All those who have gained something from sports look to give something back. If Prakash Padukone’s two-year stint could shape the career of Pullela Gopichand, who not only won the All-England Championship after 21 years, but also went on train Saina Nehwal, another icon, it is time to ask our former stars to be a part of the drive and help us become a powerhouse.
The All-India Chess Federation (AICF) is in agreement with the Sports Bill and it will be a shame if it is not implemented. Clauses like Right to Information will make us more accountable and will also help in running federations efficiently.
Inclusion of sportspersons as administrators is an aspect which the AICF has already implemented. Almost half of our administrators are former players, including grandmasters and international masters. We feel they can help us serve the community better, having played the game at the highest level.
Once we have an accountable administration in all sports bodies, we will be able to nurture our dreams better as there is no dearth of talent in the country. I appeal to office-bearers of other federations that this is a great opportunity. Please stand up and be counted. Let there be light.
The writer is a secretary of the chess federation of India