Cricket is nothing but just another sport: Maken

Ajay Maken said that since cricketers are shortlisted for government honours, the sport should be brought under the RTI Act

New Delhi: Sep 6, 2011

The BCCI might be refusing to identify itself as a National Sports Federation (NSF) but Sports Minister Ajay Maken said that the high-profile game must be seen as nothing but just another sport.

Taking a dig at the Indian Cricket Board, Maken said that since cricketers and coaches are always shortlisted for government honours, the sport should be brought under the Right To Information (RTI) Act.

“We consider cricket a sport in this country and that is why we shortlist cricketers for government honours,” said Maken.

“And that is the reason why we would like cricket also to come in the ambit of the draft National Sports Development Bill,” he added.

Maken and the BCCI have been at loggerheads over the sports minister’s proposal to bring the cricket board under the ambit of RTI.

The BCCI’s argument was that only those organisations that take government grants should come under the act and not the BCCI.

“When people of this country come out with tri-colours to support the Indian cricket team, how can the BCCI officials claim that it is their team and not the one that represent India?,” asked Maken.

Last week the Sports Bill was sent for reconsideration after powerful ministers in the Union Cabinet rejected many of its provisions.

There was no unanimity within the Cabinet on whether cricket as a sport should be brought under the RTI. Objections were also raised against restrictions imposed on maximum terms for president of a sports federation. Several ministers also found long-term development goals of the Bill to be too intrusive.

Maken also reiterated that the bill does not intend to control any of the sports federations.

“Our intention is not to control the NSFs but to regulate them. We do not intend to be intrusive. We just want to bring in transparency, efficiency and involve sportspersons in the functioning of the federations,” he said.

Asked if the BCCI fails to come under the RTI, the government would consider not granting any benefits to the game, Maken urged not to get into a hypothetical situation.

“Let’s take one step at a time. We will try to work things out and remove certain objections in the bill before presenting it again,” said Maken.(PTI)