This is an old saying “change is constant” but it is not applicable to the sports bodies in the country which continue to remain under tyrannical rule of politicians as their heads. Most sports federations are headed by politicians or bureaucrats for years leading to an era of total politicization of sports in the country. To cite an example Mr. Vijay Kumar Malhotra, a BJP leader, is heading Archery Association for more than three decades.
Recently when the Union Sports minister Mr. M. S. Gill took up the issue of regulating the sports bodies and limiting the tenure of sports body chiefs, there was retaliation from politicians cutting across the party’s ideology against the move. The political enemies became friends to oppose this move as number politicians from all major political parties in the country head one or the other sports federations’ and wanted to save their face. The sports ministry had earlier revived its guidelines to restrict the tenure of the heads of various national sports federations and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), many of which are led by people who have held the posts for decades. The regulation also limits the tenures of secretaries and treasurers to not more than two successive terms of four years each. The ministry also suggested that a retirement age of 70 years should be fixed for all members of sports federations. The ministry had said it wanted “professional management, good governance, transparency” in the sports federations.
Politicization of sports is one of the major issues which has plagued the Indian Sports administration over the years .Inappropriate use of funds, unavailability of basic infrastructural facilities to the sports persons, poor salaries of existing players and former players, even inability to find sponsorships for them, ill-treatment of players , misuse of political power and interferences in selection and lastly no intention to spread the their respective sports have become set standard procedures of the working of these associations .This move by the minister is an important one as it seeks to clean-up the Indian sports and bring it out of the chains of deprivation, ingrained corruption and inefficiency before the upcoming commonwealth games in October.
Efforts should be made to provide professional solutions to ills of the Indian sports without compromising the autonomy of these federations .Professionals should be involved in the reviving the federations and making them work for the best interests of the players plus keeping the accountability factor in mind. Even the expertise of former players should judiciously used to promote sports, nurture the existing talent and providing them with conducive environment for best results. Even appointing a professional CEO and running these federations as a company with different departments and each of them responsible and accountable for their acts can be alternative solution to our existing problems. There should be external independent agencies to keep checks on the working of these federations. With the proactive minister, his will and commitment to improve and clean-up the system can lead to a new dawn in the Indian sports.