Maken continues to pitch for Sports Bill

Sriperumbudur (TN): Making it clear that he would not give up on the National Sports bill, Sports Minister Ajay Maken once again strongly pitched for it, saying the Commonwealth Games scam would not have taken place had the legislation been passed earlier.

The National Sports Development Bill, which seeks to rein in sports bodies and possibly bring the cash-rich BCCI under the government`s grip, was rejected by the Cabinet with several ministers raising objections to certain clauses.

"I think we have already delayed (the bill). Had we got this bill earlier, there would not have been a Commonwealth Games scam," Maken told reporters here on the sidelines of a function at the Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development, which is under his ministry.

"Had the Bill been brought earlier, most of the people who are in Tihar jail would not have been office bearers of Indian Olympic Association (IOA)", he added.

Maken was apparently referring to jailed Congress MP Suresh Kalmadi and some other officials who were sacked from the CWG Organising Committee following alleged irregularities in the conduct of the games in October last.

The Bill, which seeks to bring in transparency and accountability in the functioning of national sports bodies under the purview of the RTI, ran into rough weather with ministers like ICC President Sharad Pawar, Mumbai Cricket Association chief Vilasrao Deshmukh and J&K Cricket Association head Farooq Abdullah opposing it.

The Ministers at the Cabinet meeting on last Tuesday felt that the bill was trying to control rather than facilitate the development of sports and had raised objections on the age and tenure restrictions of those heading the sports federations.

However, Maken today yet again pointed out that the Centre`s intention was not to interfere with the functioning of the BCCI but there should be more transparency in its operations involving public money.


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