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Corruption, nepotism and fraud in selection process hamper sports and sportspersons in our country: HC – Mrit News

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Indian athletes can adorn Olympic podium proportionate to the capability of the nation only when businessmen and politicians stay away from sports administration, say judges

Indian athletes can adorn Olympic podium proportionate to the capability of the nation only when businessmen and politicians stay away from sports administration, say judges

Corruption, nepotism, fraud in selection process, lack of transparency and failure to follow best practices in administration are the primary reasons hampering sports and sportspersons in the country. Indian athletes can adorn the Olympic podium proportionate to the capability of the nation only when businessmen and politicians stop with funding and leave the administration to eminent sportspersons, the Madras High Court has said.

Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice D. Bharatha Chakravarthy wrote so while dismissing a writ appeal preferred by the secretary of Tamil Nadu Olympics Association against a set of 14 directions issued by Justice R. Mahadevan with respect to administration of sports bodies. The Bench confirmed all the directions including the one that 75% of the members of every sports body, association, federation or organisation must be eminent sportspersons.

The judge had also ordered that all those members should have voting rights and that positions of president, vice-president and secretary should be held only by sportspersons. He had also made it clear that his directions would hold good until the State government comes up with a legislation to regulate sports bodies. Not finding any reason to interfere with his decision, the Bench had dismissed the appeal on April 27 and said that a detailed order would follow.

The detailed judgement, penned by Justice Chakravarthy, read: “It is time and again decried with regard to sports in India that there is abundant sporting talent among 125 crore population. Especially, the athletes from rural India, if encouraged, will be no less than any of their counterparts around the world. Even though financial constraints have been felt, it is also noticed that countries which have more severe financial constraints are actually performing better than India.”

The Bench also stated a major concern was the lack of sporting culture primarily among the administrators. It said that the administrators of sports bodies must know how it feels to be a sportsperson, what it takes to cope up with loss, the physiological needs and impact of its changes, the frame of mind and so on. It basically requires empathic understanding of the athletes/ sportspersons and the needs of individual sports.

“Thus, sports specially requires more of heuristic/empirical knowledge than any other field. That is why persons other than athletes/sportspersons, are unconsciously incompetent to administer sports. In other words, they not only don’t know, but they also don’t know, what they don’t know,” Justice Chakravarthy lamented. Therefore, it was imperative that eminent sportsperson had a definite say in administration of sports in the country, he added.

Observing that businessmen, politicians and owners of academic institutions were certainly welcome to fund and sponsor sports and sportspersons, the Bench said: “But insisting that they will be the part of the administration will only lead to ruin. So long, these associations were predominantly administrated only by non-sportspersons and that is why the poor run so far. There is need for imminent change which can brook no delay.”

The court went on to observe: “The stark inequalities in providing five star facilities to these administrators (politicians and businessmen) while showing apathy to the ordinary athletes need to be stopped. Not to say about other serious malpractices, sexual harassment and so on. Therefore, we hold that the decisive involvement of sportspersons/athletes in the matter of administration of sports is essential and indispensable.”


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