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Rediff.com  » Sports » Sports Minister ready to drop clauses that offend BCCI

Sports Minister ready to drop clauses that offend BCCI

August 31, 2011 17:43 IST

Ajay Maken, Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs, whose first draft of the National Sports Bill had to be withdrawn following stiff opposition from Sharad Pawar, president of ICC and former BCCI president.

Pawar said there is no question of the manner in which Cricket Board runs its administration.

The National Sports Bill might have been rejected for now but Sports Minister Ajay Maken on Wednesday said he remains confident that it will get the cabinet's approval the next time around.

Ajay Maken"I am on the job. We need to have Sports Bill. Had the Bill been in its place before the Commonwealth Games, we wouldn't have had so many scams during the CWG games," Maken said.

He lashed out at the BCCI for protesting that they should be covered under the RTI Act.

"Let them spell out three or four clauses which they are not happy with. I would drop them. But their financial dealings must come under RTI Act," the minister said.

He also came down heavily on those officials who are over the age of 70. "Seventy is a ripe age and they should realize that they have been around for a long time and now they should make way for younger people to lead the sports bodies," Maken said.

Talking about 25 percent reservation for the sportsmen, Maken said that they would not be government nominees and they can be elected for representing a particular organization.

The Sports Ministry was keen to get the bill passed by parliament in the ongoing monsoon session but the cabinet's rejection has put a spanner.

Maken said that his sole intention is to bring about transparency and accountability in sports and he was convinced that the bill will serve the purpose.

The cabinet had on Tuesday rejected the bill with ministers such as ICC President Sharad Pawar, Mumbai Cricket Association chief Vilasrao Deshmukh and J&K Cricket Association head Farooq Abdullah opposing it.

The Ministers felt that the bill was seeking to control rather than facilitate the development of sports and had raised objections on the age and tenure restrictions.

Anurag Thakur, member of Bhartiya Janata Party from Himachal Pradesh and President of Himachal Cricket Association, took strong exception to Maken's attempt to bring BCCI under the RTI act saying that since BCCI did not take even a single rupee from the government either in aid or any other form the sports minister should refrain from making such frivolous suggestions.

However, former cricketers Bishen Singh Bedi and Kapil Dev have backed the Sports Minister's move.

"BCCI may be the best run organisation in the country and may not be taking money or aid from the government but nothing should prevent it to make it accountable," Bedi told rediff.com in an exclusive conversation on Wednesday.

"There are persons who have been sticking to their positions for more then thirty years or even more in some cases but refuse to retire. The government has rightly fixed 70 year as the maximum age or maximum of three terms for holding office. What is more noteworthy is that all these are honourary jobs and they get nothing out of it except making money through illegal means," Bedi said.

His thought was seconded by former India captain Kapil Dev.

"Every sporting body should be made accountable, and that includes the BCCI," he said.

Onkar Singh in New Delhi