Government and Sports Federations: Indian Wrestling Federation (Wrestling Federation of India-WFI) and Indian wrestlers are in headlines these days. More than 30 wrestlers, including Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogat, have made several serious allegations against Wrestling Federation President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, including sexual harassment. At the same time, they are adamant on demanding Brij Bhushan’s resignation.
However, the wrestlers have already made it clear that this is their own fight. They do not want to make it a political issue. But the Sports Ministry has taken this matter seriously. Sports Minister Anurag Thakur has also talked about meeting the wrestlers.
But this question must be arising in the mind of the fans that how much connection is there between the sports associations and the central government? Does the government become helpless in front of these sports federations? Why is the government unable to take action against the Sangh? Let us understand the answers to some similar questions.
Does the government interfere in the management of sports?
Please tell here that the government does not interfere in the management of sports. Sports in India are managed by their respective National Sports Federations only. They are independent and organize tournaments across the country. Along with this, players are also selected for them. Also play an important role in promoting sports. The government helps these unions in all these works and operations. Manufactures sports infrastructure and gives sports awards.
Sports federations are autonomous non-governmental bodies?
It is also absolutely true that like the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), other sports federations are also autonomous non-governmental bodies. There is no interference of the government in their administration or in the appointments of the members. The government only appoints liaison officers with the advice of the sports ministry, who are not called government employees. Along with the national federation, there are also state level federations. Everyone has their own laws and constitution.
Can the government interfere in the management of sports federations?
The answer is no. Even though the federations get financial assistance from the government, the government does not have any executive power to interfere in the management of these sports federations. For example, the Indian Olympic Association was suspended by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2012. Then the IOC had said that the Indian government was interfering in the elections to the IOA.
Can the government take action against the unions?
If there are some allegations like not working properly on a sports association, then the government cannot take action against those associations, because it is an independent body. Although the government can stop their funds and assistance. However, IOC or IOA or the international organization of that game can definitely take action.
Can a common man form his own union?
If you are a group that is very passionate about any sport and you feel that this sport should be promoted in India. Then in that case you can form a federation. However, for this you will also have to be associated with the international organization of that game. For example, if you want to form a football association, then you have to be affiliated with FIFA. If there is a sport under the International Olympic Association (IOC), then it has to be affiliated. Along with this, recognition will also have to be taken from the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).
Can non-Olympic sports also seek recognition from the government?
Yes, sports which are not in the Olympics can also seek recognition from the government. But the case of BCCI is different. Till now the Cricket Board has not bothered to become a National Sports Federation after taking recognition from the government. In 2011, Sports Minister Ajay Maken had given an invitation to the BCCI, but the BCCI did not apply at all.