The Indian government has finally recognised motor sports as a sport by including governing body FMSCI in the list of sports ministry-backed National Sports Federations (NSF).
The development comes at a rather quiet period for Indian motorsports and at a time when efforts are being made to bring Formula 1 back to the country after the Grand Prix was dropped owing to tax and bureaucratic hurdles.
The ministry has included motor sports in its latest revision of sports disciplines, albeit in the ‘Others’ category, meaning no financial assistance will be provided to the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI).
However, the government support to FMSCI does not help the F1 Indian Grand Prix much as getting the race back is primarily down to promoters Jaypee Group and its commercial rights holder Formula One Management (FOM).
Vicky Chandhok, former FMSCI president and currently its member representing Madras Motor Sports Club, welcomed the government’s move after years of wait.
“This can only be good for Indian motor sports. Interestingly, the government never de-recognised FMSCI, it just took the body off the recognised NSFs list in 2011 and it has re-recognised us. And the reason there was a lot of criticism surrounding government’s apathy towards motor sport was because that was the time when Formula 1 came to India for the first time (in 2011). The Indian motor sports was in the
limelight like never before,” Chandhok told PTI on Friday.
Though the government will not provide funds for domestic motor sport activities, former racer Akbar Ebrahim, who is now on the eight-member FMSCI council, said there is plenty to gain from the ministry’s recognition.
“Just three weeks ago, we received a letter from the sports ministry stating that it now recognises FMSCI. The federation was always an affiliated member but to get a NSF status, we have to comply fully to the ministry’s guidelines including the one on age and tenure limits (of office bearers). Whatever amendments needed to comply with ministry guidelines were done and submitted to the ministry. The whole process took about six months,” said Ebrahim.