Satyamev Jayate - Jinhe Desh Ki Fikr Hai



Should sporting bodies in India be run only by competent sportspersons?

  • Over the years, we, as citizens of this country, have watched helplessly as different sports federations are repeatedly exposed for corruption, nepotism, lack of transparency and accountability. Many of these have become fiefdoms controlled by vested interests and political lobbies who have neither love for the game nor commitment to sportspersons.
  • It is necessary and evident that the people who should run these federations are those who have been sportspersons themselves, as they are passionate about the game, understand the sacrifices needed to reach any level of achievement, and will be empathetic to the needs of sportspersons. If we want to increase the base of the pyramid in any sport, we need to encourage lakhs of youngsters to participate. Only a large pool can produce enough world-class talent for the country. Who better to inspire the youth to make sports a part of their lives - politicians or sports icons? Corrupt officials or sports champions?
  • Yet this task of reforming the sports federations is difficult because entrenched interests will not easily let go of their power. A tidal wave of mass support is needed to cleanse the rot in the system.
  • So far these powerful groups have resisted every attempt at reform. In 2011, the government had prepared the National Sports Development Bill which was revised in 2013. This progressive bill provides for the mandatory representation of a minimum of 25% athletes in the executive bodies of national sports federations with voting rights. (More details here)
  • The bill had the backing of several of India’s top sporting icons. However, it was not passed as those controlling the sports federations have powerful political support cutting across party lines.
  • This shows that these groups will not give up their powers and fiefdoms. Only widespread public support can bring about much needed change and reform.