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Sports ministry seeks changes in anti-fixing bill

india Updated: May 30, 2013 01:58 IST
Chetan Chauhan
Chetan Chauhan
Hindustan Times
spot fixing

The sports ministry is not happy with the first draft of the anti-match fixing bill of the law ministry and wants it to be completely re-written.

In a communication to the law ministry sent on Wednesday, the sports ministry has expressed concern over the lack of protection for honest sportsperson, inadequate definition of dishonesty and differentiation in punishment for players and bookies involved in unfair means in sports.

It also expressed amazment at the fact that the reason behind the proposing prevention of dishonesty in sporting events bill - spot fixing in recent T20 cricket - was not explicitly covered in the draft bill. The draft only covered national and international matches and was silent on club sports, where fixing is believed to be most rampant.

"We have a lot of issues with the draft," a senior ministry official told HT.

"The draft does not cover unfair means in sports in the present context".

The ministry wants the definition of dishonesty in sports to be replaced with 'sports fraud', a more comprehensive term defined by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The IOC officials have given an initial draft on what amounts to sports fraud and the ministry would consult them further once the proposed law takes a concrete shape.

The ministry also has its reservations on punishment of up to five years to players for failing to report any unfair practice to anti-corruption unit of the sporting federation.

"This clause can be misused and can result in plethora of complaints against budding sports persons," a senior ministry official said, adding there was a need for providing adequate protection to honest players.

The ministry also failed to see the logic behind punishment of five years for unfair practice in sports to a player and just three years for a bookie.

"How can a law distinguish between a player and a bookie for a similar crime?" the official asked.

Senior officials also said the average punishment for sports fraud in countries is 6.7 years with minimum being two years and maximum 10 years. A bookie involved in spot fixing in England recently was jailed for 10 years.

"The punishment should act as a deterrent," an official said.

Despite the differences, the ministry expressed confidence of introducing the bill in the budget session of Parliament, which started in July end.

"We expect to finalise the draft bill by mid-June," a ministry official said.