New Delhi: Former Indian cricket captains Kapil Dev and Mohammed Azharuddin on Tuesday favoured the BCCI becoming a National Sports Federation and falling under the purview of the RTI Act, as proposed in the National Sports (Development) Bill.
The Bill will come up for discussion in the cabinet on Tuesday and after getting the clearance, it is expected to be introduced in the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament.
BCCI, which is an autonomous body, and some other sports organizations such as Indian Olympic Association (IOA) have opposed the legislation but Kapil said the cricket body should not be thinking of defying the law.
“If government formulates a rule, the BCCI should follow the framework of the guidelines and I believe BCCI can work independently but must always toe the government line,” Kapil, India’s first World Cup winning captain, said at a seminar organized by the Confederation of the Indian Industries (CII).
Azharuddin, a Congress MP from Moradabad, said BCCI should not be exempted from the provision of the law.
“It is good for sports bodies and their professional running. It (law) should be for all Sports Federations and there should be no exception,” he told reporters outside Parliament.
However, BCCI is still adamant and not ready to be covered by the legislation.
“I have not seen the draft Bill. Show me the draft Bill. How can it be under RTI when it does not take any grant from the government,” BCCI vice president Rajiv Shukla said.
Former cricketer Ajay Jadeja also said that BCCI should not be opposing the legislation.
“BCCI has done a great job but when a government passes a law, it can’t look at individuals or one individual body, because sports is one. And if they come out with a Bill to cover all the sporting bodies, I don’t see anything wrong in that,” Jadeja said.
“Why should they (BCCI) worry. Government is not asking you to change the way you work or do not promote sport. They are not stopping you from doing anything. They are actually encouraging to do it in a more transparent way,” he added.
The government view is that the Bill would bring in more accountability in the functioning of NSFs.
“We need reforms in sports, which we hope the National Sports Bill will bring. If passed, it will then go to the Parliament for resolution. I am hopeful that the Parliament will be unanimous on this Bill.
“We need reforms in sports which this Bill will bring in. The Bill will bring in transparency in NSFs,” sports minister Ajay Maken had said on Monday.
Maken said if passed by the Parliament, the Bill would make it mandatory for NSFs to have 25% reservation for sportspersons in their Executive Board.
BCCI governing council member Anurag Thakur, who is also a BJP MP, termed the law as interference by the government in the matters of sports bodies.
“What’s need of this Bill. Is the government trying to take over the sports body or control the sports body. The central government should focus on creating infrastructure all over the country. They don’t have enough funds to promote sports in the country.”
“At the same time, they are trying to curb the sports bodies by enacting such laws, which is not welcome by any sport body across the party line,” Thakur told reporters outside Parliament.
The legislation also puts a 70-year cap on retirement of NSF and IOA office bearers and also restricts the term of the Presidents of NSFs to 12 years or three terms of four year each, with or without break.
The other office bearers, including general secretary, can not continue after two consecutive terms but they will be eligible for re-election after a four-year cooling off period.
Azhar backed these provisions too.
“It is good, they should have competitive term. If you cannot improve in three years, you cannot improve in 30 years,” he said.
Kapil asked other NSFs to take lessons from the BCCI on how to run an organization.
“Rather than criticizing cricket for getting more publicity, the other Sports Federation can learn from BCCI as to how well they have marketed the game,” Kapil said.
The former all-rounder also urged the corporate world to spend a portion of their money on development of other sports.