Goel lists out ministry’s achievements

Seeking enhanced accountability and responsibility from the National Sports Federations (NSFs) while insisting that the government would continue to respect and protect their autonomy, Sports Minister Vijay Goel on Thursday listed out his ministry’s achievements over the past three years.

Sports Minister Vijay Goel on Thursday listed out his ministry’s achievements over the past three years.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Seeking enhanced accountability and responsibility from the National Sports Federations (NSFs) while insisting that the government would continue to respect and protect their autonomy, Sports Minister Vijay Goel on Thursday listed out his ministry’s achievements over the past three years.

The focus, though, remained on the contentious National Sports Development Code (NSDC) that stipulates age and tenure restrictions while seeking other implementations including ‘One State One Vote’ and a more professional approach to administration. Goel suggested the Code, re-drafted earlier this year, could be turned into a Bill any time and had earlier indicated presenting it in the monsoon session this year. The Code itself, however, has been stayed by the Delhi High Court.

“The Code is under review. Besides age and tenure, selection of athletes, favouritism and elections to NSFs would all be under the gamut of the NSDC. Most federations are already adhering to the NSDC, those that don't are suspended by us. Also, it is important to bring sports, currently a State subject, into the Concurrent List and we have already sought feedback from states. Most of them, barring Tamil Nadu, have been positive in their response,” Goel, who has been in-charge of the ministry for almost 10 months, said.

Putting the onus of results on the NSFs, Goel said that the federations had a lot more responsibility because they were the ones “deciding on camps, coaches, tournaments and selections” and that “they need to professionalise, the time for holding positions without results is over”.

Preparing for Olympics

Goel added that the Olympic Task Force (OTF), entrusted with the responsibility of drawing up the blueprint for preparing till the 2028 Olympics, had already submitted its interim report and government observers in various sports appointed to act as link between athletes and the ministry.

“Our coaching diploma is being integrated with international modules and master trainers and foreign faculty invited to upgrade the coach development programme at the NIS (Patiala) and LNIPE (Gwalior), Existing coaches' performance is also being reviewed subject to physical and medical fitness tests. One batch of 25 coaches has already undergone two weeks training at Birmingham. We are working towards a more athlete-centric system,” Goel added.

There have been apprehensions that the re-drafted NSDC was aimed at diluting the stringent provisions of the Lodha Committee with regards to cricket administration and thus make it more attractive to the BCCI, which is presently not a signatory to the NSDC. But Sports Secretary Injeti Srinivas was categorical that it would have to adhere to the provisions once it became law. “Any body that regulates any sport in the country will have to come under it, there can be no exceptions unless the BCCI decides to turn into a private club and stop representing the country,” Srinivas said.

Asked about India’s continued high position among dope cheats on the WADA list, Goel quipped that it was not because of more doping but stringent monitoring and more reporting. As for the long-demanded prevention of sports fraud bill, the ministry has no plans for it, indicating it was as good as shelved for the time being.