At a time when Indian sports federations are reeling under factionalism and nepotism, Defence Minister A K Antony has stepped in with the broom.
The Defence Ministry’s letter dated March 14, 2013, accessed by Express, reveals that a number of serving officers are occupying positions in sports associations.
These officers are governed by Army Rules 1954, and not by the Central Civil Services (CCS) conduct rule. The Defence Ministry’s simultaneous letter to the Army, Air Force and Navy reveals that fresh set of rules have been issued for the officers till the time existing provisions are amended strictly in line with Central Civil Services rules.
The ministry has also put a curb on the number of consecutive tenures a person can serve in sporting bodies.
A fresh directive says no service officer would be allowed to hold elective office in any sports association or federation for a term of more than four years. They will also have to take prior clearance for any travel abroad in connection with activities of the sports federation.
“While seeking such clearance, the officer must indicate the source of funding for the foreign trip including travel, hospitality and other expenses. Necessary clearance of FCRA shall be obtained prior to submission of proposals to government,” the letter said. The letter has also warned officers to refrain from raising funds or other collections from official as well as non-official sources for the promotion of sports, including the sports association in which he is holding any position.
“While seeking elective office or supporting the candidature of any person for election to sports bodies, a service officer should not indulge in conduct unbecoming of an officer,” it added.
Although, the revised rules allow officers to hold elective office in two associations at a given point, they have asked for justification for the same as to why this move will not be detrimental to the conduct of official business.
The ministry hopes that this will be a lesson in reform for Indian sports associations like the Indian Olympic Committee, the Board of Control for Cricket in India and the National Rifle Association of India, which had been mired in controversy.
Despite clamour for complete reforms, a nexus between politicians and bureaucrats still controls a majority of associations recognised by the Sports Ministry. For example, Archery Association of India President V K Malhotra has held on to his position for the past 40 years while Suresh Kalmadi ruled the Indian Olympic Association for over 16 years. The situation is more or less similar in other sports like table tennis, judo, shooting and athletics.