Badminton legend Prakash Padukone feels the sport’s governing body in the country is no longer relevant and a corporate-style body should be put in place to run the sport.

“Small countries like Australia and New Zealand have a CEO for their badminton associations,” the former All England Champion told PTI here.

Mr. Padukone said the running of the game is best left to professionals in modern times where marketing of the game is of paramount importance. Mr. Padukone felt the Badminton Association of India officials manage to escape resposibility as they hold honorary posts.

“Sometimes these people (the current administrators) don’t get time. Honorary means you do something else also. If you have (additional) time, you do this (devote for running the game). I don’t like the tag of Honorary Secretary.

Honorary thing should go. Let him take one rupee as token. But it has to be a paid job. Then you can hold them accountable”, Mr. Padukone said, strongly favouring a discontinuation of honorary jobs in running the game.

He said professionals in their respective fields - marketing, coaching, development (spoting talent), pursuing sponsorship deals and conducting domestic tournaments - should be hired and held accountable.

“You have to appoint right people. People with experience in that field, it should be run like a corporate. Badminton Association of England is a limited (company),” Mr. Padukone said, calling for revamping of the present system.

Mr. Padukone stressed that the game should be run like a company, where there is a CEO and various departments to run the show.

“Hired professionals need not know anything about the game, but they should have experience in their chosen field. It (badminton) should be sold like a product,” he said.

“Sports has also become like that now. Earlier, it was okay (to have BAI and there was no need to market the sport aggressively). 20 years back it was fine”, he said pointing out governing bodies such as FIFA and ICC were run by professionals.

Mr. Padukone also slammed BAI for not conducting enough domestic tournaments and said many of the youngsters - Indian players who are not getting to participate in international tournaments - are a frustrated lot.

“Last year we had only one tournament. It’s a big de-motivation factor for players who are not in the Indian team. They are training for what? They can’t play international tournaments because they are not representing the country”.

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