Sports Ministry give blow to Kalmadi & Co

New Delhi: Politicians, bureaucrats and
businessmen who have been occupying the top posts in various
National Sports Federations (NSF) for more than a decade will
have to step down after their current term expires, the Sports
Ministry said on Sunday.

The Ministry has modified a 1975 regulation that suggests
Indian Olympic Association President Suresh Kalmadi and
several NSF chiefs including V K Malhotra (archery), Sukhdev
Singh Dhindsa (cycling), VK Verma (badminton), captain Satish
K Sharma (aero club) and BS Adityan (volleyball) cannot seek a
re-election after their present term expires.

The Ministry said it has decided to restore the modified
tenure clause, which was kept in abeyance by former Sports
Minister Uma Bharti in 2001, to encourage "professional
management, good governance, transparency, accountability,
democratic elections, etc. in NSFs, including IOA."

The original 1975 regulation introduced by the Indira
Gandhi government had capped the tenure of the President, the
Secretary and the Treasurer at not more than two consecutive
terms of four years each.

The modified clause caps the tenure of the president of
an NSF, including IOA, to 12 years "with or without break".
For the Secretary and the Treasurer, it shall not be more than
two successive tenures of four years each.

"The Secretary and the Treasurer shall be eligible for
standing for re-election to the post after a minimum interval
of four years," the Ministry said.

"Further, there will be a retirement age of 70 years for
all members and office bearers," it added.

Most of the NSFs have politicians at the top, while
bureaucrats and businessmen too have been found clinging onto
the top posts for long.

Congress MP Suresh Kalmadi has been the IOA President
from 1996, while BJP leader VK Malhotra is heading the Archery
Association of India for more than three decades.

Akali Dal leader Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa`s reign as the
Cycling Federation of India is into its 14th year while VK
Verma, a bureaucrat, is ruling Badminton Association of India
for 12 years.

Congress leader Captain Satish K Sharma heads the Aero
Club for 24 years, while B S Adityan, a businessman, has been
at the helm of the Volleyball Federation of India for 12

Others who have been ruling NSFs for nearly a decade
include Digvijay Singh (shooting), Ajay Singh Chautala (table
tennis), Yashwant Sinha (tennis), Abhay Singh Chautala
(boxing), Ashoke Ghosh (kho kho), KP Singh Deo (rowing) and KN
Kapur (swimming).

The ministry said all previous efforts to limit the
tenure met stiff resistance from NSFs, who cited the autonomy
provided to them in the Olympic Charter.

The Ministry, on its past, cited a 2009 Delhi High Court
observation that the tenure clause is not a violation of the
International Olympic Committee (IOC) charter.

The Sports Ministry said it has examined and found that
major international sports bodies, including that of hockey,
badminton and swimming, have their own tenure limit.

"...International Olympic Committee (IOC) itself, which
is mother body of all sporting federations, enforces limits on
the tenure of its executive members, Vice Presidents and the
President, besides enforcing a retirement age of seventy years
on all its members elected after December, 1999," the Ministry
pointed out.

"Hence, it is amply clear that the practice of imposing
the limits on the tenure of the office bearers of sporting
bodies is widely prevalent and internationally accepted and is
also one of the critical ingredients of good governance, which
prevents development of vested interests in the management of
sporting bodies," it added.

Reckoning that the modified clause brings NSF tenure
regulation in line with that of IOC, the Ministry said, "The
above mentioned tenure limit shall come into operation with
immediate effect for all elections conducted henceforth.
"However, in the case of existing office bearers who are
attracting the above restrictions, but were duly elected to
their posts, and are currently serving their tenure, the
tenure limit will be enforceable only after the expiry of the
current tenure."

The current NSF and IOA management was challenged in a
Public Interest Litigation filed before the Delhi High Court,
which has expressed deep concern at the long indecisiveness of
the Government on this critical issue, the Ministry said.

The Court has directed the Government to clarify its
stand and produce relevant records on the next date of hearing
on May 5, the Ministry added.


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