The mess in cricket, and that created by certain wellheeled individuals ranging from shopkeepers to politicians has largely been sorted out after the Supreme Court has ordered firm implementation of their judgement of July 18, 2016, and after forming a four-member Committee of Administrators.
But look at the mess in other sports bodies one look at them and you will immediately agree that BCCI was far better run than all the others put together. And, seeing the rot in BCCI, that’s saying a lot!
Let us analyse the administrative mess and see how these sports bodies are tightly controlled by certain individuals and families. The
Indian Olympic Association electoral rolls, which had been released for the first time after the 1996 elections, clearly show how certain families and politicians have been ruling various sports federations as their personal fiefdom.
Randhir Singh, the former Secretary General of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has his daughter Sunaina Kumari as the President of the Bowling Federation of India and his nephew Raninder Singh (a Congressman) President of the National Rifle Association of India. There can be really no quibbling about Randhir Singh’s credentials as a sportsman of repute, but let us look at the others.
The President of the Punjab Olympic Association SS Dhindsa (Shiromani Akali Dal) has his son Parminder Singh Dhindsa as the President of the Cycling Federation of India. CP Singh Deo has made his wife Raj Lakshmi President of the Rowing Federation of India. The Nanavati brothers control swimming: Kamlesh is the Secretary General of the Swimming Federation and Virinder Nanavati is the senior vice president of the IOA.
While Rajeev Mehta is the President of the Kho-kho Federation and present IOA Secretary General, as well as Associate Vice President of Hockey India, his wife Deepa Mehta is the President of the Luge Federation. The IOA President N Ramachandra has his wife as the President of the Indian Triathlon Federation. The Indian Association of Boxing Federations is still recognised by the IOA. However the IOA at their recently held meeting have decided to keep on hold the recognition of BFI the body recognized by the International Boxing Federation and the MYAS by reverting back only after discussing with the IABF. Strange are the ways of the IOA.
What strange bedfellows! Politicians holding power come from different parties, but are great pals in these lucrative sporting bodies. Digambar Kamat – (Congress) is the President of the Swimming Federation of India. Akhilesh Dasgupta – (Congress ) is the President of the Badminton Federation of India and also the vice president of the IOA. PS Dhindsa – Akali Dal – Cycling Federation of India President. Durga Das Boro of Congress is the President of Fencing Federation of India. Praful Patel of Congress is the President of AIFF. Vagish Pathak of BJP is the President of Net Ball Federation of India. Birendra Prasad Baisahya has been the President of Indian Wrestling Federation and belongs to Assam Gomantak Party. Brij Bhusan Saran Singh of BJP is the current President of Wrestling Federation of India. VK Malhotra of BJP has spent much of life handling the affairs of Archery Federation of India.
The State Olympic Associations are being headed by former and present chief ministers, MLAs, Member of Parliaments and ministers for the past many years. (See Below).
The Sports Guidelines and sports code mention that no office bearer of a National Federation shall hold office simultaneously in any other National Federation except the IOA. However, these guidelines are being openly flouted by the power hungry office bearers who do not have any regard for transparency and good governance. For example, the Secretary General of the IOA, Rajeev Mehta who besides being the President of KHO KHO a sport not recognized by the IOC, is also the Associate Vice President of Hockey India. An office bearer of the of the IOA, Anandeshwar Pandey, is the Secretary General of the Net Ball Federation of India and also remains the elected Vice President of Hockey India. Anurag Thakur is also the Associate Vice President of Hockey India.
The state of hockey in India has been a subject of great discussion for the last nine years or so. A new body suddenly cropped up and surprisingly uprooted an 80-year-old IHF. The IOA which was instrumental in the formation of the new body, had clearly issued instructions to all State Olympic Associations to facilitate the formation of state hockey associations, which was followed, to ensure the illegal formation of Hockey India where the order of the Delhi High Court states that the IHF is the sole governing body for hockey in India, an order that has not been set aside by any court yet.
The much delayed argument put out by the Attorney General of India that government bodies like Railways Services should be given their voting rights and should not be relegated to ordinary members, is rather intriguing, since these institutions (who no doubt generate employment opportunities for sportspersons from all over the country in different disciplines) do not have voting rights in hockey and football, where it has been proposed that these bodies should be without voting rights.
In most other federations, these bodies surprisingly have only a single vote compared to more votes enjoyed by the state units.
Most of the above administrators have never played any sport. Some of them cannot stand straight for even 30 minutes. Yet their ‘love for sport’ knows no bounds. While some of them like Randhir Singh have been eminent sportspersons themselves, all others have been basking in other people’s sunshine.
Women athletes, like their male counterparts are expected to touch their feet, else these petty politicians and shopkeepers will take it upon their egos and mete out punishment. The recent curious case of the Indian women’s hockey captain being thrown out before the Olympics, was ostensibly done because she had dared to get engaged before the Games without seeking the approval of the hockey bosses. Similarly, another top performing hockey player, Gurbaj Singh, was seemingly removed because he has dared to ask for better food at a hockey camp.
Getting politicians is helpful for many other reasons as well. One federation runs a private league and arranges money from various public sector companies, which adds up to more than Rs 100 crore. Its patrons and advisors include, or have included, a media moghul, a powerful central minister, and the powerful MP of another major political party. The federation has been paying large amounts of commission to unknown persons guarded by intense secrecy, and crores in legal retainership to the same minister’s progeny, but fails to reply to an RTI query how much?
The State Of Hockey In India Has Been A Subject Of Great Discussion Since Ages
The need for powerful politicians is accentuated because of the power and money that is associated with sporting bodies. While many of the sports bodies are in virtual control of some political families and powerful individuals, other wannabe politicians, aided by scheming lawyers, can assume control by engineering trouble in the existing units.
By manipulating the due process of law and by misusing loopholes in existing laws, conditions of uncertainty can be created to take over existing bodies. The rewards of such takeovers are huge. The government will continue to be a silent spectator, given the clout of the ‘raiders’. Little wonder, the IOA continues to be in such a huge mess.
The IOA and the Ministry of Sports routinely give soothing and happy reports of the progress being made by various sports disciplines and cite statistics to show that India will win 20 medals in the coming Olympics but the results, over and over again, are pathetic.
Even in the current committee formed to discuss the Sports Code, we have a gentleman who would openly run down the age and tenure restrictions and would ask the then Union Minister in-charge of Sports, MS Gill to resign first in short, he did everything to rubbish the proposed guidelines limiting administrators’ age to 70 and tenures in various sports bodies. It is now a joke to see this very individual being a part of the Ministry of Sports’ committee to finalize the new Sports Code.
The current Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, once Vice President of BCCI, spoke passionately for 45 minutes and vehemently opposed these age and tenure restrictions in a bid to stall the Sports Code last time they were planned to be implemented.
Sports lovers question our sports policy, and see it as a cruel joke. The sad part is that our hardworking and sincere athletes have to ply their art under many of these incompetent and self-serving administrators. Whether sports have any hope under these administrators is a million dollar question.
Names of politicians who have been ruling the roost:
Tarun Gogoi, former CM of Assam, is the President of Assam Olympic Association
Dr Raman Singh, Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, is the President of Chhattisgarh Olympic Association
Lal Thanhawla, Chief Minister of Mizoram, has been President of Mizoram Olympic Association
Neiphiu Rio, former CM of Nagaland, is the President of Nagaland Olympic Association
Ajit Pawar, former Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, is the President of Maharashtra Olympic Association
Samir Dey, Minister Higher Education, is the President of the Orissa Olympic Association
Gopal Chandra Roy, MLA, is the President of the Tripura Olympic Association
Sher Singh Barshami, MLA, is the President of Haryana Olympic Association
Rameh Mendola, MLA, is the President of Madhya Pradesh Olympic Association
Hemochandra Singh, Minister, Public Health & Engineering Department is the President of Manipur Olympic Association
K. Govindraj, MLC, is the President of Karnataka Olympic Association
Jaydev Galla, MP, is the President of Andhra Pradesh Olympic Association
Shripad Naik, MP, is the President of Goa Olympic Association
Anurag Thakur, MP, is the President of Himachal Pradesh Olympic Association, and Himachal Pradesh Hockey Federation.
Ajit Banerjee, TMC, is the President of Bengal Olympic Association,
Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, SAD, has been the President of Punjab Olympic Association
Akhilesh Das Gupta, Congress, is the President of UP Olympic Association.