Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Only sports persons can be office bearers in sports associations; mandates online registration for sports meets-Madras High Court

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The single judge in his order said that these measures would "go a long way in ensuring that the best talent in the country is sent for participation in every event that matters up to the level of Olympics and that deserving candidates are never left out of the fray."

Pertinently, the Court directed that important functionaries in such organisations would only be sportspersons, and no one would be given an important post only on the ground of financial contributions.

This order came on a petition by an athlete seeking an online registration system, claiming that in spite of her stellar performance, she was denied entry by the Tamil Nadu Athletics Association to participate in the Open National Championships for the years 2017 and 2018.

The petitioner submitted that the respondents adopt a pick-and-choose method to select athletes, while ignoring well-merited athletes like her.

In fact, it was the petitioner’s contention that there was a dire need to implement the Sports Code to revamp the State and District level sports bodies and retrieve them from “the clutches of politicians or businessmen”.

On hearing the petitioner’s submissions the Court observed that “the disease is not just on the externally visible layers of the system, but has penetrated deep into every layer trickling down up to the lowest level of decision-making.”

Therefore, the single-Judge deemed it essential that every representative body responsible in any way for the selection of athletes is made accountable by the State for their actions and financial aid received by them.

It was emphasised that only external changes without solving real problems such as ignorance of merit, issues of favouritism and nepotism would be pointless.

This reminds one of the analogy that taking a superfluous view on the matter by only making external changes without looking into the problems, which are the real reasons for such ignorance of merit, and the issues of favouritism and nepotism, in the system of selection of athletes, would be like using the skills of dermatology to cure the deep-rooted cells of cancer,” the Court said.

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