Essay, Uncategorized

Indian marathon runner O P Jaisha said she fainted at the Rio Olympics on a hot, humid day because no Indian sports official provided her with water or glucose water, a reminder that sports federations in India are often ignorant of sporting requirements.

Much has been written about Indian sports associations managed by politicians instead of athletes. Now, there is clear data on the details:

  • Only one sports association (SA)–the Athletics Federation of India–has a former national athlete as president.
  • Only nine SAs have former or present players on their governing bodies.
  • 12 SAs have not made available any details about the tenures of presidents and members.
  • Only two SAs have any kind of plan for the future.
  • Women constitute between 2% and 8% of SA governing bodies. Hockey India, with 34% female representation, is the exception.

The report outlines six major recommendations that could improve governance of sports in India:

i. Design a strategy/road-map for future: The IOA and all SAs should adopt a strategic roadmap that is disclosed to the public domain. Implementation of this roadmap should be monitored and disclosed regularly.

ii. Revamp of elections and succession planning: The SAs should amend their constitutions to set: Maximum term limits and retirement limits for members and office bearers (such as president, secretary, treasurer). Once they reach the limit, they should not be considered for future appointments.

iii. Be transparent: SAs should put their financial statements, profiles of executive council and administrative staff, budgets, expenses and remuneration details in the public domain.

iv. Mitigate conflicts of interest: SAs should disclose conflicts of interest and ensure they are not allowed.

v. Increase player- and female-representation on the council: This is important to enhance diversity on councils.

vi. IOA should be more transparent: The IOA must disclose its budgets and audited financial statements of its participation in any national and international events. For these events, it should disclose participating sportspersons, non-playing staff, including officials and doctors and a break-up of expenses.

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