Businessmen heading sports bodies causing harm to games: Supreme Court

Indian hockey has come down and the team is struggling to qualify for Olympics.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Published: December 5, 2013 6:48 pm

Regretting that “politics has brought down the game” of Hockey in India,the Supreme Court  Thursday deplored how businessmen and others,who had nothing to do with sports,headed various sporting bodies in the country.

“Sports are being run by private individual persons and businessmen. Private individuals are controlling the games in India. Can the game be held hostage by private interest? This is why hockey has come down and our team is struggling to qualify for Olympics whereas we used to win gold medals earlier,” a bench of Justices T S Thakur and J Chelameshwar said.

The court was hearing a dispute between Indian Hockey Federation and Hockey India over the ratification by the Federation of International Hockey on their recognition for representing the country in international events.

Lamenting the state of affairs and unending court battles over control of sporting bodies,the bench called it “unfortunate” that the government failed miserably to control these institutions in the interest of the game and the “rot” in these bodies kept spreading.

“The government is unable to control the sport societies and you (bodies) keep fighting. Is there any federation which is not fighting legal battles in courts. In no other country such litigations are witnessed for controlling the games” said the bench.

The court pointed out that current state of affairs could also be

contributed to the involvement of persons who were in no manner associate with sports.

“Who are heading the sports federations? They are the businessmen and other perons. Is there any Olympian in the society. You brought this game to abysmal low that you do not qualify to send your team to international events. You brought this game to abysmal low that you do not qualify to send your team to international events,” the bench told IHF’s counsel.

The court said that it was a “sad commentary on sports in the country” that people were running sporting bodies “at the cost of the game.”

The court was hearing a plea filed by Indian Hockey Federation,which is at loggerheads with its rival Hockey India,seeking stay on the proceeding initiated by Federation of International Hockey to find out which of them is to be recognised to represent the country at international events.

“Politics has brought down the game,” added the court.

During the proceeding,IHF contended that since the case pertaining to recognition was already  pending in the apex court and any proceeding initiated by FIH would amount to bypassing the court. It said that no international body should make the court proceedings here irrelevant.

The bench,however,said that the court should not interfere in FIH

proceedings and both warring factions should place their case before the international body. It simply adjourned the matter for hearing in the second week of January.

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