‘The Code should conform to the Olympic Charter’

Most sports officials and administrators are open to having a new National Sports Development Code. They welcome it as long as it ensures transparency and clean governance.

The Athletics Federation of India president, Adil Sumariwala (left), felicitates Indian javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra during the Asian Athletics Championship in Bhubaneswar in July this year. “If it (Sports Code) helps in controlling doping, cheating, age fraud etc., I am sure most federations would like to have such a code,” says Sumariwala.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

Adille Sumariwala

(President, Athletics Federation of India)

I welcome the code as long as it ensures transparency and credibility of administration. If it helps in controlling doping, cheating, age fraud etc., I am sure most federations would like to have such a code. I am sure it would conform to the Olympic Charter. It will always help to have a sports code.

Dhanraj Chowdhary

(Former Secretary General, Table Tennis Federation of India)

I am all for a sports code. It is much needed because we have to have a model of clean governance. The Olympic Charter is clear that there has to be transparency and accountability. There ought to be an age limit (for officials), because it would pave the way for young people with fresh ideas. I am sure a good code would go a long way in professionalising sports administration.

Anandeshwar Pandey

(Joint Secretary, Indian Olympic Association)

The biggest question is what are you including in the bill (Sports Code)? Who is making the bill? Has anyone from the grass-roots level ever been involved in formulating a bill?

Does anyone know that the Indian government hardly pays anything to the associations to run the office? The associations have to depend on donations to conduct National Championships. All the money is spent on the training of players and stadiums et al, but nothing is allocated to the associations. In zilllahs and schools, you have PT teachers and physical teachers who hone the skills of these international stars. You spend so much money on training players but where do you get the national-level players from? The grass-roots level.

You need to know the ground realities to make the bill. Does anybody (involved in drawing up the Sports Code) have grass-roots level experience? Is there anybody from the grass-roots level who is in the core group that is formulating the bill? If there is anyone, I am willing to resign from all my posts.

Just by speaking English and talking in the Supreme Court and High Court, you don’t become a sports expert. It’s not that only those who win Olympic medals are sports stars. Those who bring a good name to their region by performing well at the ground level are also sports stars. They tend to do more for their society.

Take Milkha Singh for example. You call him to any function and he will charge Rs. 5 lakh to make an appearance, along with business class tickets. But what has he done for the sport? He is the former Sports Director of Punjab — what has he done?

Take other former sport stars who were offered government positions. While they have accepted all the perks of the job, what have they given in return?

A sports code must include how sportsmen remain fit. The Indian government is spending nothing on the physical education (development) of sportsmen. As long as there isn’t an equality in the money allocated for physical and mental education (development), India will not win medals or produce great sportsmen. This is my version (opinion).

Subrata Dutta

(Vice President (East), All India Football Federation)

The Sports Code is made for the benefit of sports in India. It applies not only to the AIFF but all the federations. The code has been made for the development of sports in India. All the clauses have been formed so that it benefits sports in India. I think that it will be good for the country’s sport.

The Sports Code has been well thought out and made properly. Though it has scope for improvement, I think the government will look into it in the future.

Since the time the sports code came, I’ve welcomed it. I’m sure that as the old order changes, this will also keep improving.