In many countries, a great sports person usually occupies the post of a sports administrator. Argument being, a sports person can understand how another sports person feels or needs before, during and after a competition. Accordingly environment, training program and facilities are created. For some strange reason, most sports bodies are occupied by politicians as administrators. Look at Board of Cricket Control (BCCI), Indian Hockey Federation, Indian Football Association, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and numerous other sport bodies at centre and state levels. Many or all such bodies have constitution made in such a way that a common sports lover either cannot participate or even if they become member they will not have much chance of winning an election without active support of politicians. As such there should be nothing wrong with this. Because that is how an election process works, where several people support a person to occupy a post. However, in India we hardly see a nonpolitician win a major administrative post, exception being Anil Kumble and Sreenath winning Bangalore Cricket Association post.
Recently, Indian Olympic Association got derecognised by International Olympic Committee (IOC). Although exact reason remains unclear, it appears that IOA association was being run by a group of people almost like personal fiefdom. Firstly, IOA chief Mr. Suresh Kalmadi spent time in jail for mismanagement and misappropriation of funds during common wealth games. His aide Mr. Lalit Bhanot also had the same fate. Indian government wanted to clean up IOA administration. However, IOA claimed they follow IOC charter and are not liable to listen to government of India. On the other hand, IOA charter declares that all administrators should be clean ethically and legally. However, IOA officials conveniently forgot the ethics component of IOC charter and considered the legal aspect. Indian courts ordered IOA to conduct elections under supervision of an observer. However, IOC rejected such election dubbing it as interference. At the end of the day, IOA got Mr. Lalit Bhanot elected unopposed as secretary and Mr. Abhay Chautala was likely to be its next president. Meanwhile, IOC derecognised IOA. Apart from an acute embarrassment, this event also puts Indian athletes at a serious disadvantage. Because, India will not be able to participate in Olympic events.
I am not opposed to having politicians in the IOA or any other sports bodies. It is perfectly alright if politicians, by virtue of their contacts in government, can bring funds for their chosen sports. It is also good, if as administrators politicians bring good sports coaches and consultants from India and abroad to train our sportsmen, built high quality infrastructure, scout for talents etc. These people should also create a constitution that allows other sports enthusiasts to participate in election and help the sports in India.
Despite controlling sports for such a long time, what is the status of India in sports arena? We send the biggest sports contingent, yet get lowerst number of medals, if at all. Barring BCCI, that generates revenue, that has a clear contract with players, and runs independently of government of India, most other sports federations are in a mess.Indian Hockey is mired in political game played by administrators. Sports authority of India is plagued by rampant corruption, doping charges, nepotism, including sexual harrassment of female athletes.At this time, our politiicans seem to have made a monopoly of sports adminsitration. Many, barring BCCI, have not done much that is visible for Indian sports. Most stay in their post all their lives and never allow any fresh blood to come. Many have obvious criminal background but never contemplate resigning or not contesting election.on ethical ground. What can we expect from the likes of Mr. Bhanot, Mr. Chautala as top administrators of IOA? On top of this, we also have Mr. R. K. Anand, a top lawyer, who was caught influencing a key witness in a car accident case (BMW hit and run case involving Sanjiv Nanda). I think this is the right oppurtunity to dissolve IOA, rewrite its contitutution in line with IOC charter and bring good people that care about Indian sports.