Make national sports federations professional, says Arun Jaitley

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 22, 2015 15:22 IST

To streamline the functioning of national sports federations (NSF) in the country, the sports ministry had been issuing directives for good governance and transparency over the past couple of months.

On Saturday, finance minister Arun Jaitley stressed the need for professionalism in NSFs. “Several administrators are holding key posts in federations for long. Even if they are not holding any post, they still exert considerable influence to run the day-today affairs of the national sports governing body,” he said.

The chief guest at the annual conference of state sports ministers and secretaries, Jaitley was of the view that federations should play a major role in the development of sport in the country, but due to lack of professionalism, they have a long way to go.

“None of the NSFs are able to generate resources and are generally dependent on government for funds,” he said.

The minister also lamented the lack of infrastructure in the country, saying NSFs should play a vital role in this direction.

“Sport is a state subject hence it’s the primary responsibility of the states. The efforts to bring sport on the Concurrent List failed in the past,” he said, adding that Delhi has adequate sports infrastructure but is not utilised properly.

He also suggested that focus should be on a few disciplines, including hockey, wrestling, archery, badminton, boxing and shooting as India has depth in these. “We should focus on a few events for better results at the international level,” he said.

Govt to amend scheme aimed at Rio Olyympics

The sports ministry plans to amend the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) so that top sportspersons shortlisted for the project are able to avail of its benefits and plan for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Assuring the athletes, sports minister Sarbananda Sonowal said on Saturday that the government would ensure changes in the scheme whereby top athletes are able to continue with commercial contracts and avail of the benefits of TOPS.

Launched in September last, TOPS 10-page contract letter stated that athletes would have to disclose the details of commercial contracts as well as take prior permission from the government to sign a contract.

The government had shortlisted 75 athletes but none were willing to sign the MoU.

Apart from athletics, sailing, archery, athletics, boxing, wrestling, shooting and badminton are the disciplines shortlisted by the ministry for Rio.

The minister said athletes could continue with personal commercial endorsements but should not receive funding for the same. “There is no hard and fast rule. Certain issues can be sorted out,” he said.

Some athletes had written to the government for changes. “We want the athletes to move ahead and bring glory to the nation in Rio,” said Sonowal.

Speaking on the sidelines of a conference of state sports ministers and secretaries, he assured that funds were not an issue. “The government has provided ` 10 crore each for the next three years for the TOP Scheme.”

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