Sunday, May 2, 2010

Indian Sports Ministry limits tenure for sports officials

On the backdrop of India hosting the Commonwealth Games in October, the sports story which was the talk of the country today was the Sports Ministry's announcement that National Sports Associations' presidents who have been in office for more than a decade, will have to step down at the end of their term.
The news had mixed reaction and is expected to be debated heatedly in the coming days which could even see the issue going to court citing that it is against the Olympic Charter to limit tenures of sports officials.
In Malaysia this has been a hot topic too and not too long ago, there was even a ruling that Cabinet Ministers cannot hold posts in sports associations.
Below is the story which appeared in the India Today website: 

 In a bid to crack down on National Sports Federation heads who have been occupying the posts for too long, the Sports Ministry on Sunday said NSF chiefs in office for more than a decade will have to step down after their current term expires.
The Ministry has modified a 1975 regulation that means Indian Olympic Association chief Suresh Kalmadi and several NSF chiefs including V K Malhotra (archery), Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa (cycling), VK Verma (badminton), captain Satish K Sharma (aero club) and BS Adityan (volleyball) cannot seek a re-election after their present term expires.
The move is also being interpreted as a fallout of Sports Minister M S Gill's ongoing feud with Kalmadi, who has been at the helm since 1996.
The Ministry said it has decided to restore the modified tenure clause, which was kept in abeyance by former Sports Minister Uma Bharti in 2001, to encourage "professional management, good governance, transparency, accountability, democratic elections, etc. in NSFs, including IOA."
The original 1975 regulation introduced by the Indira Gandhi government had capped the tenure of the President, the Secretary and the Treasurer at not more than two consecutive terms of four years each.
The modified clause caps the tenure of the president of an NSF, including IOA, to 12 years "with or without break".
For the Secretary and the Treasurer, it shall not be more than two successive tenures of four years each.
"The Secretary and the Treasurer shall be eligible for standing for re-election to the post after a minimum interval of four years," the Ministry said.
"Further, there will be a retirement age of 70 years for all the members and office bearers," it added.
Most of the NSFs have politicians at the top, while bureaucrats and businessmen too have been found clinging onto the top posts for long.
BJP leader VK Malhotra is heading the Archery Association of India for more than three decades.
Akali Dal leader Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa's reign as the Cycling Federation of India head is into its 14th year while VK Verma, a bureaucrat, is ruling Badminton Association of India for 12 years.
Congress leader Captain Satish K Sharma heads the Aero Club for 24 years, while B S Adityan, a businessman, has been at the helm of the Volleyball Federation of India for 12 years.
Others who have been ruling NSFs for nearly a decade include Digvijay Singh (shooting), Ajay Singh Chautala (table tennis), Yashwant Sinha (tennis), Abhay Singh Chautala (boxing), Ashoke Ghosh (kho kho), KP Singh Deo (rowing) and KN Kapur (swimming).
The ministry said all previous efforts to limit the tenure met stiff resistance from NSFs, who cited the autonomy provided to them in the Olympic Charter.
The Ministry, on its part, cited a 2009 Delhi High Court observation that the tenure clause is not a violation of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) charter.
The Sports Ministry said it has examined and found that major international sports bodies, including that of hockey, badminton and swimming, have their own tenure limit.
"...International Olympic Committee (IOC) itself, which is mother body of all sporting federations, enforces limits on the tenure of its executive members, Vice Presidents and the President, besides enforcing a retirement age of seventy years on all its members elected after December, 1999," the Ministry pointed out.
"Hence, it is amply clear that the practice of imposing the limits on the tenure of the office bearers of sporting bodies is widely prevalent and internationally accepted and is also one of the critical ingredients of good governance, which prevents development of vested interests in the management of sporting bodies," it added.
Reckoning that the modified clause brings NSF tenure regulation in line with that of IOC, the Ministry said, "The above mentioned tenure limit shall come into operation with immediate effect for all elections conducted henceforth.
"However, in the case of existing office bearers who are attracting the above restrictions, but were duly elected to their posts, and are currently serving their tenure, the tenure limit will be enforceable only after the expiry of the current tenure."
The current NSF and IOA management was challenged in a Public Interest Litigation filed before the Delhi High Court, which has expressed deep concern at the long indecisiveness of the Government on this critical issue, the Ministry said.
The Court has directed the Government to clarify its stand and produce relevant records on the next date of hearing on May 5, the Ministry added.


Anonymous said...

Tony, This is really a joke to limit is to 4 years in total. I think that is not fair at all, if you do not believe me ask Dato Sieh Kok Chi. Look at the great contributions Dato Sieh has made to Malaysian sports and OCM. OCM will not be what it is today without Dato Sieh's contribution. The India Olympic chaps must have their marbles all mixed up.
Long live Dato Sieh Kok Chi and may he be the SEC Gen of OCM until such time when he choose to step down.
Okay so he has screwed up a few NSA here and there, but look at the big picture man. He is GOd send to Malaysian athletes association

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon 3:47PM you must be an ardent supporter of the Grand Old man of OCM. You may think he is GOD sent to Malaysian sports, but I feel Dato Sieh in the later part of his life has fallen into serious bouts of insecurities.
I think people like Dato Sieh can be advisor to OCM. Don't put him out to pasture yet. What is he going to do if he is out of OCM? He have nothing in his retirement. At least in OCM he is still the King of the Wild Frontier.
I have read alot about Dato Sieh's adventure in turning tables of NSA and his defiance to theSports Debelopment Act. Look what are you going to do, fine him and put him behind bars? He is going throughhis 2nd childhood, leave him be and forgive him. Aftewr all how much time does he have before he fade away. I ask you to forgive him. Last I heard OCM is going to ask him to gently retire from the SEC Gen post and appoint him as Honorary Advisor to the President.