Government issues guidelines for sports awards

New Delhi: With an aim to avoid controversies during the naming of athletes for National Sports Awards, the government today issued guidelines, incorporating a number of conditions to make the selection process transparent and time-bound.

The Standard Operating Procedure issued by the Sports Ministry said that only authorised signatories should send the nominations, and sportspersons penalised or against whom enquiry is pending/ongoing for use of drugs/substances will not be eligible for the awards.

A copy of the nominations will be sent to the concerned NSF for verification of the details and achievements stated in the form and for checking if the sportsperson has ever been warned/penalised for any unfair practice like age fraud/sexual harassment, doping etc.

All details in this regard, if any, will have to be given by the NSF along with the verification report, the Ministry said.

"The authorised signatory for sending nominations will be: Indian Olympic Association - President/Secretary General, National Sports Federations - President/Secretary General (In the case of cricket, there is no federation recognised by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. Nominations for cricket will need to be sent by President/ Secretary General of the BCCI).

"State/ UT Governments/ Sports Control/ Promotion Boards - An officer of not less than the rank of Secretary or Director (Sports) of the organisation after taking due approval of the competent authority. Sports Authority of India-Director General/Secretary," the released stated.

In order to avoid embarrassing situations like that of Renjith Maheshwary`s case last year when just hours before the Awards function, the Ministry had to hold the triple jumper`s Arjuna award following a "detailed investigation" for a failed dope test, it has been decided to include undertakings in the application form for the award.

"It is certified that the nominee is clear from vigilance/disciplinary angles and is not involved in acts of criminal nature and moral turpitude. In case of sportspersons employed with Central Government/State Governments/PSUs or in private organisations, a certificate has been obtained from the concerned employer (copy enclosed) to this effect," the Ministry said.

The Ministry stated that in case any enquiry was initiated or warning given, details must be provided by the sportsperson.

"That I have carefully read the provisions of the Scheme for the award and hereby accept all its provisions. I have never been penalised for any unfair practice like age fraud/ doping etc," stated the release.

It also said that the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardees of previous years could also send nominations for highest honour, Arjuna, Dhyan Chand and Dronacharya awards in their respective disciplines.

"Arjuna, Dhyan Chand and Dronacharya awardees of previous years may send nominations for any of these awards in their respective disciplines. Nominations forwarded by any office-bearer other than those mentioned above will not be considered.

"Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports may suo-moto also nominate sportspersons/coaches from any sports discipline," it said.

Nominations for the awards would be called for in January each year in the prescribed application format and the last date for receipt of nominations will be April 30 or the last working date in April each year.

The nominations would have to be sent by 15th May to Sports Authority of India, which will independently verify the details, including character verification.