Government open to relaxation of 'VIP' clause in National Sports Code, to form expert panel

Rijiju said the government and the IOA were not conflicted on the Code issue after his first-ever formal meeting with officials of National Sports Federations and the IOA.

Published: 11th October 2019 10:01 PM  |   Last Updated: 12th October 2019 08:40 AM   |  A+A-

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju (Photo | PTI)

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: There was a lot of hype over Friday’s meeting involving Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, Indian Olympic Association members as well as National Sporting Federations (NSFs) as the conference was supposed to yield an outcome regarding the contentious draft of the revised Sports Code. However after a mammoth meeting, which went on for over five hours, the status quo remained.

The issue came up at the end of the meeting and the general consensus was that there were more pressing matters to deal with — especially India’s Olympic preparations. But it was decided that a committee would be formed to look into various grievances and find an amicable solution. No date was announced though.

"We have proposed that a committee will be formed to look into matters of the code. The most important thing is that the ministry, IOA and NSFs are on the same page. All of us should work together for the betterment of sports in the country. The rest of the problems will be taken care of in due course. There is no middle path, we are together. I want a Sports Code which is universally acceptable, suitable for sports and won’t lead to any controversy," the minister said.

This daily had already reported that the IOA as well as NSFs would oppose the clause barring politicians from top posts as well as the one regarding age limits. 

Rijiju also seemed to agree with relaxing some of these norms. "We can’t single out any profession with regards to governance of the sport. It would be wrong to say that businessmen cannot take part in sports federations or politicians and officers cannot take part. Then who will run sport?" asked Rijiju. "It is not about the profession, it is about how suitable one is to run the sports federation. We cannot single out any person of any background. What is in the best interest of sport will be put in the Sports Code."

The first part of the meeting focussed on Fit India Movement after which the NSFs in attendance were asked to speak on their plans for the 2024 and 2028 Olympics. A detailed road map for Tokyo was also discussed and the government assured all help for the NSFs.

“After a long time, such a meeting, involving all the stakeholders of Indian sport, happened. Most of our problems were heard and help was assured. Hopefully, more such conferences will be called in the future and things can be done in a transparent manner,” head of one of the NSFs said. Close to 30 NSFs had attended. The minister assured that one-on-one meetings with all federations would take place.

No rent for NSFs

A couple of other decisions, regarding utilising all sporting infrastructure in the hands of the government or Sports Authority of India, were taken. From now on, all stadiums will be given to national federations and no rent will be charged, except for energy costs. Coaches with 10 or more students can book slots to train at such facilities online.

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