It’s opportune for the Supreme Court to implement Lodha Committee report on other 48 sports federation and bring transparency in the governance of various sports bodies
By Manoj Chaturvedi
Post failure of the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) to implement Lodha Committee’s recommendations to clean cricket, the Supreme Court was forced to chip in and without losing any time the Apex Court crackdown on the cricket administrative carted has resulted in flurry of resignation from head administration of the BCCI and its state bodies. BCCI chief Anurag Thakur and BCCI Secretary Ajay Sirke have been ousted from their respective offices while Senior Vice President and Joint Secretary of the BCCI has been asked to look after the BCCI administration till next hearing of the Supreme Court. In actual, none of the BCCI officers fail to fulfill the criteria mentioned under the Lodha Committee. Hence, Supreme Court ruling has come at a time when few influential people have made the cricket hostage to their pocket and they are running BCCI administration as cricket enthusiast or through their proxies. However, why cricket only? Why not other sports federation where people are glued to the administration for more than a decade?
In 2011, the Sports Ministry of India had tried to contain irregularities in various sports federations by coining ‘National Sports Development Code (NPDC).’ If we compare this code with the recommendations of the Lodha Committee, majority of the Lodha Committee’s recommendations are already mentioned into the NPDC but in current scenario, Lodha Committee’s recommendations look more appropriate than the NPDC. That’s why many a former sports persons have filed writ petition in court to implement Lodha Committee’s recommendations into other sports federations and clean the irregularities making impediments into the growth of current sportspersons. Taking cue from the Lodha Committee’s recommendations, all 48 sports federations in India have already applied the highest age limit recommendations in their organization but they are still not ready to implement other key recommendations of the Lodha Committee. So, regulation on all 48 sports federations in India is need of the hour and Justice Lodha report can become a path finder for bringing transparency in other sports federations.
One vote for one state, one man one post, ban on ministers and government employees to become office bearer in any of the sports federation is a welcome step and it has to be implemented not only in BCCI but in other sports too. In fact, the sports ministry should think of making Lodha Committee report a role model while changing the NPDC. It has to be done in an accelerated manner otherwise people like Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Chautala would continue to defame the game.
Converting Lodha Committee’s recommendations into NPDC won’t be enough when we come to know that only 7 of the 48 sports federations have implemented NPDC. Those who implemented NPDC includes — Indian Chess Federation, Cycling Federation, Badminton Association, National Football Federation and National Karate Federation. Getting known to this, the Sports Ministry of India has give March 31st deadline to all sports federation to implement NPDC. If any of the federation fails to follow the ministry’s guideline, they might be deemed from the list of authorized sports federation. The ministry has also directed the sports federations to create their website on which they will have to put their audit and accounts details, their initiatives to contain dope problem, federation’s constitution, news related to their national championships etc. It would bring transparency into the sports administration as they will be forced to put all information into the public domain.
But, there is one more area where Lodha Committee report can bring light to it. There is urgent need for increasing participation of sports personals in their respective sports federation. In recent years, we have achieved enormous success in badminton and increased participation of former badminton players into Badminton Association is one of the major reason for this. Hence, rather Sports Ministry of India changing the Lodh Committee Report into NPDC, it would be better if the Apex Court itself announce this need of the hour so that there is no room for the sports federation to linger the long awaited sports reform in India.
The Indian government has been for long trying to put BCCI under some authority so that it becomes responsible to some government authority. However, due to its financial might, it managed to hide behind proper crackdown on its malfunction. However, since the Supreme Court of India has taken guard against the BCCI, it’s opportune for the Apex Court to implement the same recommendations on other 48 sports federations too. Since, a writ in this regard has already been filed into the Highest Court, there won’t be any hassle in replicating the same ruling and recommendations into other sports federations. As majority of the sports authorities excluding BCCI, depends heavily on government’s financial assistance, government must have its say into the administration of the sports bodies. Now sports bodies can’t hide their malfunctions citing their autonomy as in the case of BCCI, Supreme Court ruling is an example which Sports Ministry of India can showcase when as and when it comes across such petty jibes. At the same time once, the transparency would be maintained in sports governance, it would help any kind of financial fraud or misuse of funds meant for sports development ensuring more medals at various international sports events.