SC: Businessmen heading sports bodies,‘rot’ spreadinghttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/sc-businessmen-heading-sports-bodies-rot-spreading/

SC: Businessmen heading sports bodies,‘rot’ spreading

Private individuals are controlling games in India. Can the game be held hostage by private interest?

REGRETTING that “politics has brought down the game” of hockey in India,the Supreme Court on Thursday expressed concern over how businessmen and others,who have nothing to do with sports,are heading various sports bodies in the country.

“Sports is being run by private individuals 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,” said a bench of Justices T S Thakur and J Chelameshwar.

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

Lamenting the state of affairs and court battles over control of sports bodies,the bench said it was “unfortunate” that the government had failed to control these institutions in the interest of the game,and the “rot” in these bodies kept spreading.

Advertising

“The government is unable to control the sport societies and you 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.

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

The court said it was a “sad commentary on sports in the country” that people are running these bodies “at the cost of the game”. During the proceedings,IHF contended that since the case is already pending in the apex court,any proceedings initiated by FIH would amount to bypassing it.

The bench,however,said that the court should not interfere in the FIH’s proceedings,and the two warring organisations should place their cases before the international body.

The matter was adjourned for hearing in the second week of

January.