Maken finds merit on age & tenure limiting guidelines

New Sports Minister Ajay Maken finds merit in his predecessor`s controversial age and tenure limiting guidelines.

Last Updated: Jan 20, 2011, 18:29 PM IST

New Delhi: New Sports Minister Ajay Maken finds merit in his predecessor`s controversial age and tenure
limiting guidelines but said they can only be implemented by
taking a non-confrontational approach towards the National
Sports Federations.

Former Sports Minister M S Gill had issued guidelines
that heads of NSFs cannot remain in office for more than two
consecutive terms and nobody can be elected to office if he is
above 70 years of age.

The guidelines had snowballed into a bitter stand-off
between Indian Olympic Association and the Ministry with
International Olympic Council pitching in favour of the IOA
and issuing threats of ban on India if the autonomy of NSFs
were infringed.

Maken said he will have a dialogue with the NSFs and
convince them them that the guidelines were for the benefit of
Indian sports.

"The age and tenure limiting guidelines issued by Mr Gill
has merit. But we cannot implement those guidelines by taking
a confrontational approach with the NSFs. We will have a
dialogue with the NSFs and see to it that they themselves want
to have them," Maken told a press conference shortly after
taking over as Sports Minister.

"The NSFs may delay in implementing the guidelines and
they may have a staggered time frame to implement them. We are
all right with it. I want to follow a non-confrontational
approach and will have a dialogue with the NSFs, tell them
that these are for the benefit for sports in the country.
Nothing is impossible," he said.

Asked about the threat issued by the IOC on a possible
ban on India, Maken said, "We will speak to the IOC. If we
have a confrontational approach we cannot move ahead."

Maken said he would want to see more young people who
have themselves played a sport at a certain level to manage
the NSFs.

"There should be more young people in the management of
the various sports. I see the athletes as the most important
part. How would a person who has not played at a certain
level manage the sport with the same passion as the
athletes have? That is beyond my understanding," Maken said.

"Those who manage NSFs should have played at a certain
level. It is difficult to specify that level but ideally the
NSFs should be run by those who have played the game. But as I
said I want to do all these with a non-confrontational
approach," he said.

Asked if the minister should also be someone who have
played some sport, Maken said, "I entirely agree that I have
not played a sport at a certain level. But these (measures)
are for the benefit of the country.”

"Who knows in future a sports minister may have to be a
sportsperson himself. I am all for it," he quipped.

PTI