National Sports Federations have to be transparent: Sarbananda Sonowal

New Delhi: The Sports Ministry today stated in clear terms that it expects complete transparency from all the National Sports Federations (NSFs) and also sought their support for corruption and controversy-free sport.

In his first interaction with journalists after taking charge, Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said he was committed to take Indian sport forward but he needs support from all quarters, including media, to do that.

The ministry had recently asked IOA and all NSFs to put information about expenses incurred on their delegates on the Glasgow Games trip.

It also asked NSFs and IOA to upload information about international events that their athletes are competing, lists of core probables and the basis of their selection, details of coaching camps organised, the venues, dates and list of athletes selected for the camps and the selection criteria well in advance.

"We need support of all NSFs, so we are appealing to everybody. Day to day activities have to be more transparent for good governance and to generate confidence in people. We have indicated and the message is clear, tussle is not healthy, we have to behave like one family. Sports should be corruption and controversy free," Sonowal said during the interaction.

"The Federations have to be committed. We can`t go alone. Development is not possible in isolation. We are keen to get support from all quarters," Sonowal, who hails from Assam, said and even asked journalists to give suggestion on how they can make things better.

Sports Authority of India (SAI) Director General Jiji Thomson, who was also involved in the interaction said he was expecting tough days ahead as the August 20 deadline for NSFs to furnish details approaches.

"We are expecting resistance but they have to be made transparent," Thomson said.
Sonowal said he would not mind positive constructive criticism of his work.

"We are for constructive criticism. Sports persons are the capital for us. Sports person need corruption free exercise. Ministry is for the cause of Khel and Khiladi (Sport and sportspersons)," he said.

The minister also informed that the government would soon launch a National Talent Search Scheme, which would focus on grooming children in the age group of 8-14.

"Through this scheme we will be grooming kids at block as well as district level. There will be competitions, foreign exposure, food supplement, sports medicine facilities for them," he said adding that priority would be on Olympic sports.

"We are going aggressively; we want more medals in Olympics."

Asked what else the ministry plans to do to help athletes, SAI (DG) said 12 sports medicine centres would come up in the country.

Thomson hinted that SAI was not happy with the standard of coaching in various disciplines.
"We have more than 1000 coaches and 70 percent of them are above age of 50," he said.

Sonowal intervened and said they need to equip India with modern techniques.

Thomson was livid that despite paying a handsome money to foreign coaches recruited by it, they are not directly accountable to SAI.

"There are 31 foreign coaches and SAI pays them 5.5 crore but they report to federations and not us," he said adding that they plan to work on improving infrastructure at SAI centres.

However, he expressed helplessness as far as standard of construction was concerned since it was done by CPWD.

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