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Maken hits back at BCCI, says should be more accountable

New Delhi: A day after the proposed National Sports Bill was rejected by the cabinet, Sports Minister Ajay Maken today hit out at the BCCI saying that the Indian Cricket Board needs to be more accountable in its functioning.

Maken said the proposed bill was intended to make sports bodies more transparent and efficient and was in no way an attempt to take control of these National Sports Federations.

“I wouldn’t want to say what happened in the cabinet meting yesterday, I just like to reiterate the sport ministry’s stand and my stand. We are in no way trying to control the sports federations or sports bodies,” Maken told reporters here.

“We don’t intend to have our own representatives in any way in any of the managements of these sports bodies, we don’t want to direct them, whether they would like to take Ajay Maken as one of their members or some of others MPs or ministers,” he said.

Maken said was particularly disappointed with the opposition to the bill by cricket administrators and said federations need to be brought under the ambit of the Right to Information Act for greater accountability.

“We just want transparency and efficiency in their functioning, since they are sending teams outside India representing the country, they should be answerable to all Indians through RTI. Their accounts should be known to public through RTI, after all they are using government funds and sending teams, so we want them to be accountable to the citizens of India through RTI,” he said.

Maken said that for example people would like to know for how much did the BCCI get the land for the Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium here or the ground at Dharamsala.

“The BCCI should point out what provisions are intrusive in nature and which clauses will have government control. We will remove all that but they should not oppose 25 per cent representation of sportspersons in the Executive Board and the RTI,” Maken said.

“Secondly, they should have age restrictions, after all in bureaucracy, we have 60 years as age of retirement, in judiciary it is 65 and in others it is 62-63, we have kept the age limitation at 70 years for sports federations,” he said.

Explaining the nuances of the bill, Maken said having sportspersons in administration is a step towards transparency.

“What we are saying is that 25 per cent of the executive body should constitute of sports persons of the same game, we are not saying govt will appoint that 25 per cent.

“What we are saying is that sports persons who have played at the national level, they should among themselves select, elect sports persons who should represent 25 per cent of their executive body,” he said.

“We want to give more power to sports persons, we want them to be transparent in their accounting and entire process, we want them to be answerable to the citizens of India because after all they are sending teams which is representing India as a nation,” he added.

The cabinet had yesterday rejected the bill with ministers such as ICC President Sharad Pawar, Mumbai Cricket Association chief Vilasrao Deshmukh and J&K Cricket Association head Farooq Abdullah opposing it.

The Ministers felt that the bill was seeking to control rather than facilitate the development of sports and had raised objections on the age and tenure restrictions.

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