Maken seeks to clear doubts over Sports Bill

New Delhi: Sports Minister Ajay Maken is leaving no stone unturned in his attempts to clear all the doubts his colleagues have regarding the Sports Bill and is hoping for a "smooth passage" when it is introduced in the Cabinet again.

"We have sent the sports bill for the inter-ministerial consultation, which is being done at the official level and at the unofficial level, I am personally speaking to many of my cabinet colleagues. The aim this time around is, when I take it again to the Cabinet, it has a smooth passage.

"I am trying to clear all the doubts if anyone has and I am still pushing for the Bill without compromising with the basic points in it. Last time when I took it to the Cabinet there were some issues by some people. And because of that the Bill could not see the light of the day," he added.

Asked who are the parties or individuals resisting the Bill, Maken said: "I`m facing resistance from every party and it is not just limited to one or two parties."

Maken called for the need of the Sports Bill sooner than later in the wake of Indian Olympic Association`s move to disband the Ethics panel and some other committees recently.

Terming the disbanding of the Arbitration Court and Ethics Committee as "extremely unfortunate", Maken said: "IOC (International Olympic Committee) had instructed the IOA to set up these committees. But how these committees were formed and why those have been scrapped, is all very opaque.

"This move by IOA hence further strengthens our purpose of bringing in the sports bill as soon as possible." Regarding the ongoing fight between Hockey India (HI) and Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) for the governance of the sport, Maken said at the moment the main aim is to see that the team qualifies for the Olympics.

Regarding the ongoing fight between Hockey India (HI) and Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) for the governance of the sport, Maken said at the moment the main aim is to see that the team qualifies for the Olympics.

"Our main aim at the moment is to ensure that India can participate in the London Olympics. The qualifiers are in February and we want that Indian team to clear the hurdle. After that we will again start working on bringing the two warring factions together. Let us postpone this discussion till we qualify for the London Games," he said.

On the current status about removing Dow Chemical as one of the sponsors of the London Games, Maken clarified that the government has been waiting for response from IOC.

"We have written three letters to the IOA and asked them to take up the matter with the IOC. We will now have to see how the latter responds. Meanwhile, as it is Dow Chemicals has removed its logo from the Olympic stadium," said Maken.

Maken said though he was disappointed that some of the top athletes of the country, including Ashwini Akkunji, who were banned after being found guilty of doping, he admitted that the government cannot do anything as far as the menace is concerned.

"It is very unfortunate that the athletes would not be able to participate as they are our top athletes and the medal hopefuls but we have to follow the WADA norms and those are very strict.

" In fact, many people felt that the decision was very lenient. And as far as the government is concerned, it is totally out of the hearing of the doping," he said.

Meanwhile, expressing satisfaction over the government`s decision to include sports as a category for Bharat Ratna, Maken said which sportsperson should get the honour is now the prerogative of the Prime Minister.

"We are really happy that scope has been widened. But which sportsperson from which discipline should be given the Bharat Ratna is the prerogative of the Prime Minister. As far as sports ministry is concerned we are very happy and satisfied that sportsperson will now be getting the honour.

"Any federation if it wants to recommend the name of its sportsperson, the sports ministry will send it across to the Prime Minister for consideration," he clarified.


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