Sports ministry makes SAI stadia free for federations, clubs

Starting November 1, the Sports ministry has decided to allow national and state sports federations and clubs to organise events in all SAI facilities for free.

The Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium has been earmarked for wrestling, boxing, judo and badminton.

FILE PHOTO: The Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium has been earmarked for wrestling, boxing, judo and badminton.   -  Getty Images

For long, there has been a disconnect between the massive stadia infrastructure spread across the country and their actual usage by the public, off-limits as they have been under strict government control and rules.

The Sports ministry, finally, seems to have woken up to the dichotomy and has decided to open up stadia under Sports Authority of India (SAI) to national sports federations, clubs and various leagues free of cost.

Starting November 1, the ministry has decided to allow national and state sports federations, leagues and clubs to organise competitions and sports events in all sporting facilities owned by the government for free. The first stadia opened up for the scheme include the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, Major Dhyanchand National Stadium and Karni Singh Shooting Range in Delhi. The federations, however, would have to pay for electricity and other sundries. However, for national competitions, SAI is likely to bear that cost as well.

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The facilities would also be made available to non-SAI coaches training non-national campers without any charge if there are a minimum of 10 trainees with the sessions being booked online. Anyone interested in playing a game of their choice would also have access to the facilities by booking slots in advance after getting registered.

“The Sports Ministry is going all out to promote the Fit India Movement. In India, there aren’t enough playfields where children and those interested in fitness and sports can pursue a sport. The Sports Ministry has at its disposal some of the best sporting infrastructure of the country that needs to be utilised. We had a meeting with all NSFs and all of them are very happy with this decision, and some of them have already submitted their plans to host leagues and tournaments in the coming months. The intention of the ministry is to increase use of existing sports infrastructure by three times in the next three months,” Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said about the initiative.

Each stadium has been earmarked for a specific sport with Nehru Stadium for football, IG for wrestling, boxing, judo and badminton and hockey and swimming at National Stadium.