In an apparent bid to clear the air about any federation being forced to come under the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA), against its wishes and rules, the Union Sports Ministry has brought in a new clause in the revised draft of the National Sports Bill.

The amended clause reads: “The National Anti-Doping Agency shall function as the apex body to implement anti-doping measures in sports in India and its code as amended from time to time shall be applicable and binding upon all National Sports Federation and the National Olympic Committee.

“Provided where the International Federation is not subject to rules/ Code of the World Anti-Doping Agency or part thereof then the National Anti-Doping Agency shall not administer the rules/ Code or part thereof as the case may be of WADA for that sport.”

The last portion of the clause is the addition, and though completely superfluous, it should provide some comfort to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) that the proposed law is not trying to bring international cricketers “under the WADA Code” through the backdoor as has been the popular perception.”

The Union Sports Minister, Ajay Maken, is scheduled to unveil the revised Bill on Monday. It was tabled before a Cabinet meeting in August last, but following objections from several ministers, the Sports Ministry was asked to redraft the Bill.

An impression had been created that the cricketers, who had earlier objected to the WADA ‘whereabouts' rules, would be brought under those rules once the Bill was passed since every National federation would be expected to follow the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) rules and thereby the WADA Code.

Even without the latest amendment proposed to the clause, no National federation would have required to subject its international-level athletes to rules other than those available in its international federation's anti-doping code.

In cricket's case, the anti-doping rules of the International Cricket Council (ICC) including its ‘whereabouts' rules would have applied to the country's international cricketers since the international registered testing pool (IRT) is totally governed by the international federation's  rules.

To bring clarity to a question that has been bothering the sports fraternity with regard to the Right to Information (RTI) Act 2005 and its application on sports bodies, the ministry has brought in a fresh clause that will allow a federation to refuse information about selection of players/ athletes and selection and appointment of coaches.

It will also allow federations to avoid giving answers to queries regarding injuries to athletes; medical health, fitness and ‘whereabouts' of an athlete and questions relating to test results and information that is confidential under the NADA rules.

The Bill terms a National federation as ‘public authority' and thus brings it under the RTI Act.

There is no change in the Government's position with regard to terms and tenure of office-bearers of the National federations. Apparently heeding to the sentiments expressed in several quarters, the idea of a 25-member National Sports Development Council has been dropped. It was dubbed as another version of the All India Council of Sports (AICS), which used to be the sports advisory body for the government till the 80s.

The Council was expected to advise the Government on all sports matters and grant certificates of registration to National federations. As had been the practice with ‘recognition' in the past, the Government will grant such registration in the proposed set-up.

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