01 September 2011

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Know 32 Salient Features of the National Sports Development Bill 2011

Know 32 Salient Features of the National Sports Development Bill 2011
Mr.Ajay Makan is the Union Minister of State (independent charge) for Youth Affairs and Sports

The Salient features of the Sports Development Bill 2011 are:
1 - The Bill has been formulated to celebrate the spirit of sport and fair play, imbibed the philosophy of Olympism. The Preamble of the Bill begins with this essence serving as a motivation towards drafting of the Bill.

2-The Preamble of the Bill also states that this Bill does not intend to transgress into the independence of the National Sport Federations and the National Olympic
Committee. The Bill only seeks to imbibe the practice of good governance accepted around the world in the Indian scenario.

3 - The Preamble has also addressed the public concern of accountability of these sport bodies. In the Preamble it has summarily stated that the Bill seeks to recognize these sports federations as bodies performing public functions. It has also sought to address the issues of sexual harassment, age fraud, impediments to Right to Information, speedy resolution of sport disputes, anti-doping, transparency and good governance.

4- The Preamble also states that this kind of legislation is of essential importance in the
Current scenario, since there exists a state of flux as to sports in India. But the reach and
Effect of sport and working of sporting federations in India is felt worldwide.

5- Chapter VII deals with essential conditions that have to be incorporated by the NSF and others in the bye laws and constitution. Broadly hey have been enumerated in Section 15 of the Bill and are retirement age for members as 70 years, inclusion of athletes in the decision making process, ensure that 25% of the membership and voting powers is held by athletes

[Section 15(1)(d)], the Union Minister of Sports shall not be eligible to contest for post in NOC or NSF [Section 15(1)(g)(vi)] and restriction on the term of Office Bearers to two terms of four years each[Section 15(1)(g)(vii) and restrictions of concurrent holding of positions by Office Bearers in NSFs [Section 15(1) (g) (ix)]

6- The voice and representation of an Athlete/Sportsperson has been missing in the
Top echelons of sports governance in India. Under Section 4 of the Bill, an effort has been
made to constitute a National Sports Development Council which is to be headed
by an Eminent Athlete (a sportsperson who has been conferred with national or
international awards).

It comprises of a vast representation from all facets of sports like
members from the National Olympic Committee, Paralympic Committee of India,
National Sports Promotion Board, Vice Chancellor of Sports University, sportspeople, sports science specialist, National Anti-Doping Authority, Sports Authority of India, Government representative, Sports law specialist, sports journalist and sport NGO’s.

7- A very important thought behind the formation of the Council under Section 4(3) is that seven members have been sought from the actual sports people playing the sport.

Importantly the control of the Council has also been retained to voice the opinion of the Athletes in India with the Chairperson being an Eminent Athlete.

The majority of the voting powers i.e. 15 out of 23 in this Council has been retained by members who are not a part of the federations, the Government or the Sports Authority of India.

8- Under Section 6(2) (f) the NOC (National Olympic Committee, IOA in our case) has
been made responsible for the conduct of the National Games every 2 years. Under Section 6(2) (g) the NOC has been obligated to hold fair and transparent election every 4 years.

Additional obligations placed upon NOC are to maintain public accountability, resolve disputes through a proper mechanism of Dispute resolution within 15 days [Section 6(2) (h)], and enact bye laws in compliance with IOC Charter and directions.

The NOC has been obligated to notify all about its General Assembly meeting 21 days in advance [Schedule 5, part 3], besides obligations to publish the voters list and the candidate list on the website and at a prominent place in the office has also been provided[Schedule 5, Part 4 and 7].

Most importantly an obligation to record the election by Video Conferencing has been provided so that in case of questions of election dispute it can be resolved through hard evidence [Schedule 5, Part 10].

9- Chapter IX deals with Dispute resolution of Sports disputes.

The Bill has sought to set up an office of a Sports Ombudsman (a retired High Court Judge with knowledge about sports law or arbitration with general knowledge of sports). It has also seeks to set up an appellate authority with a representation of a sportsperson and from the Government.

All awards of the Sports Ombudsman and Appellate Authority are to
be binding as Final Awards under Arbitratio and Conciliation Act 1996. Time limit of one month has been imposed on the Sports Ombudsman and the Appellate Authority to give their decision under the Bill (rule 14, Sports Ombudsman Scheme). Additionally provisions have also been made to provide for hearings through video and teleconferencing.

10- Restrictions have been places on non-recognized NSFs under Section 8(1) to
use the expression of India or Indian; represent India in International federations,
receive financial assistance, select athletes and depute teams, organize or conduct recognized events

11- Under Section 8(2) (g) the NSFs have been obligated to submit to the Government their audited accounts, measures taken to combat sexual harassment, doping, age fraud, participation of minorities and disabled. An important obligation has also been imposed to promote excellence in sports through the participation of Elite Athletes, under Section 8(2) (g) (vi).

12- Section 22 deals with the ambit of foreign nationals to represent India. It clearly states that only Indian passport holders and NRI’s can represent India. It expressly restricts PIOs and OCIs from representing India.

13- Section 21 deals with the prevention of sexual harassment, the guidelines for which
have been laid out in the 8th Schedule and is bound to be incorporated by the NOC, NSFs, SAI and all other promotional organizations.

14- The concept of one NSF for one sport discipline has been affirmed in Section 7[1]

15- Chapter VI has sought to classify NSFs based on Olympic Sports, sports included in
other major competitions and popular indigenous sports.

16- Under Section 6(2)(b) the NOC has obligated to observe the principles of Olympic charter, Basic Universal Principles of Good Governance proposed by the IOC. The NOC has also been obligated under Section 6(2)(c) to take permission from the Government before bidding for any major sporting event, since vast government resources of the country are involved in the conduct of such games.

17- Chapter X deals with anti-doping and drug free sport. Section 18 recognizes the
establishment and functioning of National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA). Section 19 recognizes the establishment of National Anti-Doping Laboratory.

18- Section 20 deems the passing of the National Code for Prevention of Age Fraud to have been passed under this Act.

19- Section 4(3) has clearly laid out that the tenure of the members of the National Sports
Development Council would be restricted to four years and that the members shall not be
eligible for reappointment. This has been done to have new voices regularly to promote the development of sports in India

20- Under Section 8(2) the NSFs have been obligated to announce their yearly calendar on or before 31 December every year. This would facilitate the athletes to manage their yearly schedule accordingly.

21- Under Section 6(2)(l) the NOC has been obligated to submit before the Parliament its
audited statements, report of activities and measures taken to promote athletes welfare,
combat the evil of doping, expeditious dispute resolution, compliance with Right to
Information and prevent gender discrimination and harassment of women in sports.

22- Under Section 5(1)(b)(i) the development and promotion of an individual sports has been retained by the National Sports Federations.

23- Chapter IX deals with the suspension and withdrawal of recognition. It has laid down
conditions like failure o submit accounts, hold elections, suspension from NOC, misuse of Government assistance, failure to abide by the conditions on which recognition has been granted and internal and serious irregularities detected by the Registrar of
Societies/companies or in public interest

24- The Council under section 4(8) has also been termed to meet every three months to promote the objective of development of sports.

25- The recognition of the NSF under Section 5(a)(i) has now become subject to certain
guidelines. The funding by the Government of these NSFs has also been subject to governance, performance and the priority of the sport being governed, under Section 5(1)(a)(ii).

26- Under Section 5(c)(iii) the Sports Authority of India has been entrusted with the task of evaluating the performances of the athletes and the NSFs with the Long Term
Development Plan for Sports in India.

27- Chapter IV deals with the provisions pertaining to the National Olympic Committee (NOC) which in the Indian scenario is the Indian Olympic Association, subject to it maintaining its recognition by the International Olympic Committee, under Section 6(2)(a).

28- Under Section 6(2)(k) all amendments in the NOC’s constitution has been made subject to comments from interested parties.

29- Chapter VII deals with the recognition of NSFs and others. It has enumerated in Section 10(1) that recognition would be granted on consideration like the legal statutes of the applicant, financial accountability, professional management, recognition by IOA for Olympic sports, status as an apex body and all India spread besides others.

30- Section 13 deals with the recognition of National/Regional Sports Promotional

31- Section 14 deals with National Playing Field Association and seeks to register all playing fields that have been developed through Government assistance.

32- Till now the National Sports Policies served as mere guidelines. The Bill in Section 3 (1)(2) seeks to give efficacy to the National Sports Development Code of 2011 by stating that it has been notified under this Bill.

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