The unveiling of the National Sports Development Bill and the reactions thereafter from the sports fraternity has opened a Pandora ’s Box. It is justified about Union Sports Minister Ajay Maken’s plea, the sports associations, especially the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), are liable to be held accountable and answerable to the public. It sad that the National Sports Development Bill is being opposed with an excuse that the cricket associations do not avail any monetary benefit from the government so there cannot be any compulsion to include them under the RTI ambit. The truth is that other than availing many government facilities, they are also at an advantage of being exempted from tax. The way the BCCI and other sports associations opposed the Sports Development Bill is bound to give rise to suspicions about their intentions. The government-aided associations have no right to oppose the Bill for two reasons. First, they receive government grants and second they act according to their will at all levels. If the sports federations and their officials were discharging their duties properly then India would not have been lagging behind in the international sports scene. There is nothing wrong in the Sports Minister’s desire that the officials of the sports associations should not hold on to their posts through their entire life. There is no reason to shield behind international rules and regulations in this matter. The discussion, on the Sports Bill which took place in the Cabinet in presence of Ministers like Sharad Pawar, C P Joshi, Farooq Abdullah, was not correct. It would have been wise for the Prime Minister to have ensured the absence of Ministers associated with sports federations during the debate on the Sports Bill. A Group of Ministers (GoM) formed on the Sports Bill should not include a Minister related to the sports association, or else conflict of interest will emerge in lack of a proper decision.

Other than bringing the work bring undertaken by the BCCI and other sports association under the ambit of transparency, the Sports Minister will also have to ensure that the autonomy of these bodies may not be hampered. The government should not try to control the sports federations through the Sports Bill because it is known by all that the government’s interference has only led to the dismal condition of the Indian hockey. Actually, a middle-path has to be carved out in this case to save the sports association from government interference while disabling the former from acting as per its will in the name of autonomy. They cannot be allowed to work in a whimsical manner because it is known to all that the scams during the Commonwealth Games were the result of capricious attitude of the sports associations. Such liberty should not be given to the BCCI or any other cricket association. Undoubtedly, the credit to popularise cricket goes to the BCCI but no one can deny that the common people is still at dark about the sources of income of the Board and its officials. When the Indian team fares poorly in matches due to the whims and fancies of the BCCI administration, the country’s image in the international sports scene gets affected and as such the public has full authority to question the BCCI in this context,. The regulation of all sports bodies is the need of the hour because it is important to attract interests of youth towards sports. Nothing can be better than engaging youth energy in sports. This will not only empower them but also help in betterment of the country’s image in sports on international arena.