The Union Sports Ministry has issued guidelines to the National sports federations to ensure that over-aged athletes are not allowed in participate in National and international competitions.

The ministry, in a communication to the federations, the Indian Olympic Association, State sports associations and the Sports Authority of India (SAI) has advised them to treat age fraud on the same lines as doping offences as, in its opinion, both violate the spirit of sport.

The ministry stated on Friday that a National code against age fraud would be brought out at an ‘early date’. Pending this, the federations have been asked to take appropriate measures to check the menace.

“In the recent past, incidents of age fraud committed by athletes, in some major tournaments and selection trials have come to the notice of the Government, which is a matter of serious concern,” an official release stated.

Broad principles

The federations have been advised to adopt the following broad principles, among others, to ensure that over-age athletes are not allowed to compete in National championships and they are not included in National teams competing in international competitions:

— National federations should introduce a system of issuing identity cards to national athletes containing the date of birth of the athlete, apart from other details

— Production of identity card for participation in National and State competitions should be made mandatory with effect from February 1, 2010.

— Federations should lay down clear policy with regard to submission of documents for age verification of athletes.

— They should maintain an exhaustive record of age along with proof of age of athletes who have participated in National championships and other competitions.

— Each federation should maintain a National register of athletes with State-wise details and this would be a public document.

— Federations should conduct random age verification and should resort to medical examination of athletes whenever doubt arises; they should notify in advance the list of empanelled hospitals for the conduct of age verification; if the athlete contests the findings of the medical test the federation should arrange for a re-examination.

— In the event of conclusive proof of age fraud, the athlete should be banned from participation in any sports event for two years in the first instance and for five years on any subsequent detection.

The Ministry has advised all State Governments to adopt the above-mentioned procedures in respect of State sports bodies.

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