Keeping the objections raised mainly by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the Union Sports Ministry has redrafted the proposed National Sports Bill.

The Sports Minister, Ajay Maken, on Monday expressed the confidence that the BCCI would fall in line in accepting the provisions of the Bill, especially now that most of the irritants had been removed.

“We have removed certain apprehensions some people had.

“We don't want to intrude into the functioning of the federations,” said Maken.

Maken, however, said that the provisions related to administrative and financial dealings would remain under the purview of the Right to Information Act even as the ministry brought in stipulations to protect the privacy of the athletes.

The minister said that the fresh draft had been placed in the public domain (the ministry website) and was being circulated to the National federations for them to give their comments within 14 days.

In view of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) setting up a National-level arbitration court, the Government had given up the idea of having a Sports Ombudsman, Maken said.

 The Appellate Sports Tribunal would, however, be in place. An independent selection committee with the Chief Justice of India or his nominee would pick the members of the tribunal.

LTDP removed

Following protests by ministers at the last Cabinet meeting that took up the draft Bill, the ministry has removed the Long-Term Development Plan (LTDP) from the proposed law. The LTDP would, however, remain part of the government plans to formulate long-term training programmes towards preparations of Indian teams.

About the removal of certain provisions from the purview of the RTI Act, Maken said the idea was to ensure the privacy of the Indian athletes as well as to provide them a level-playing field in relation to their competitors.

He said it was important to keep matters of health, fitness, dope-testing and ‘whereabouts' away from the public domain. As for selection of the teams, he said this was also an area where too many explanations would not help matters.

Asked about the proposal not to press for anti-doping regulations that might not be there in the international federations' rules, the minister said that this was an attempt to follow a uniform policy at the international level. “We don't want our federations to be at a disadvantage.”

Could this rule be applied conversely also? Say, for example, an international federation rule that is not available in the NADA rules and the same being applied at domestic hearings in respect of an athlete from that particular sport?

Maken said his ministry had not given a thought to it, though this could be looked into.

No concession had been proposed about the tenure and age limit of the office-bearers or the need to have “free and fair elections” in the federations. Maken said the tenure and age stipulation were in line with the restrictions available in the rules of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and as listed in the universal principles of good governance.

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