Sportspersons in favour of the draft bill: Ministry official

Updated: May 13, 2011, 18:15 PM IST

New Delhi: Their Federations might oppose it but Indian sportspersons on Friday backed the National Sports Development Bill and also gave some suggestions to improve the condition of athletes in the country, the Sports Ministry claimed.

Sportspersons, including the Arjuna and Dronacharya awardees expressed their views in favour of the draft bill, said a ministry official.

"The sportspersons, who were invited to give their suggestions on the proposed bill, supported the draft and also gave their advice," the official said.

The government had earlier constituted a committee headed by retired Punjab and Haryana High Court chief justice Mukul Mudgal and comprising former badminton ace Prakash Padukone and former athlete Ashwini Nachiappa to examine a legislation that seeks to bring in transparency and good governance in sports bodies in the country.

The official also said the sportspersons stressed on the need to monitor the performance and progress of the teams in various sporting disciplines, besides making other improvements as far as coaching is concerned.

"The sportspersons suggested massive improvement in the coaching system and on the need to improve the nutrition intake of the Indian athletes," said the official.

"Drawing examples with the Australian institutes and the NIS Patiala, the sportspersons also called for an independent status to NIS in order to bring better changes," he added.

According to the officials, the Arjuna and Dornacharya awardees also demanded more incentives from the government like pensions.

Earlier this month, the Indian Olympic Association and the National Sports Federations had unanimously rejected the National Sports Development Bill with the representatives of the IOA and NSFs opposing the proposed legislation, saying
that it was actually an effort by the government to take over the sports bodies in the country.

In a meeting, the representatives of the IOA and NSFs presented their objections to the legislation.

But Sports Minister Ajay Maken subsequently clarified that the Government has no intentions of interfering in the functioning and autonomy of sports bodies, asking the IOA and the NSFs to indicate the specific provisions in the draft bill that tantamount to interference in their functioning.

PTI