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Law minister suggests national law for fixing

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is on board for a strong anti-fixing legislation even as some state sports minister opposed the move saying it would infringe their domain.

india Updated: May 25, 2013 03:47 IST
HT Correspondents

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is on board for a strong anti-fixing legislation even as some state sports minister opposed the move saying it would infringe their domain.

Law minister Kapil Sibal had proposed a national law to check fixing and betting in sports. Its enactment would be difficult without consent of the state governments as both sports and betting are state subjects. But, Sibal got support of T20 League Commissioner Rajiv Shukla and BCCI vice-president Arun Jaitley on the proposed legislation at a meeting on Friday.

“We welcome the initiative,” Shukla said after the meeting.

The BCCI functionaries have asked for the strongest possible punishment for fixing of any sort in sports and to make betting cognisable offence. “We want a law to be enacted as quickly as possible because in the absence of a law, these people are taking advantage," Shukla said.

At a meeting of state sports ministers there was a differing voice on the issue. Some of the state sports minister did not agree with the Centre’s plan to have a national legislation to check match-fixing and betting. “States are competent enough to check betting,” said one of the state sports ministers. Another was of the view that it should be left with the state governments to deal with corruption in sports.

Although the latest spot fixing controversy was not on agenda of the meeting it was a point of discussion among the sports ministers in the sidelines. Many of them said corruption was rampant in cricket because of high stakes involved and betting takes place even placed at the domestic matches.

Sports Minister Jitendra Singh said as per the Constitution sports comes under the state list and that is the reason he wanted to speak on the issue with the state ministers and secretaries and the Law Ministry. “We have to take all these stakeholders into consideration but we will all do it together,” he added.

Singh, who has decided to remain at the arm’s length from the controversy, said his ministry was working at a long term plan to weed out corruption from sports.

“Transparency was key to prevent corruption from cricket or any other sports,” he said, while outlining his ministry’s plan to have a National Sports Development Bill which aims to bring sports federations under the Right To Information law. BCCI is opposed to been covered under the RTI law.

“We are talking about ways to bring about transparency in all sports. We have a long-term plan and we will use this opportunity with the Ministers as well as the Secretaries of States to work out some sort of plan to try and curb this menace," the minister said.

Indian cricket was shaken to the core after Test pacer S Sreesanth and two other players were arrested for spot-fixing in the T20 season. The scandal is now knocking the doors of BCCI President N Srinivasan, whose son-in-law and Chennai Super Kings CEO Gurunath Meiyappan has been summoned for questioning by the Mumbai Police.

On Srinivasan’s resignation, Singh said it was a moral issue that has to be taken by the BCCI. “My Ministry has no control over BCCI or IPL but we need to think about the bigger picture,” he said.