Lack of accountability bane of Indian sport

first_imgThe Leander Paes-Mahesh Bhupathi saga once again brought into the limelight the lack of accountability of national sports federations.While the manner in which the events unfolded and the behind-the-scenes politicking was a story in itself, this is something that happens everyday in Indian sport.The government is the biggest funder of sport. It has the highest number of facilities, but no real say. The federations who use the ‘we are autonomous bodies’ line while still availing of government funds are the ones calling all the shots. And then there are the players who, with relative success and good rapport, can sway and sometimes coerce both the government and the federations. This does not bode well for Indian sport.The players mistrust the federations and are sometimes unwilling to listen, if not under the threat of disciplinary action. They know that the people calling the shots are not experts. Selection committees consist of yes-men or cronies.The government is also to blame, since it tries to reel in the federations while its own Sport Authority of India is a shambles. They do have various foreign experts who have been brought in for almost all the priority sports, yet the experts’opinions are never taken. Instead it is the ‘government observer’, who has not been around high level sport for years, who has the say.The Indian athlete today has metamorphosed from the “poor soul” to someone who has a voice. The handful of successful athletes say they have become something ” despite the system”. They now use their success as a bargaining chip, sometimes in their own selfish interests.advertisementIt is not hard to come up with a system, and there are specialists available to help with this exact job. Until we can come up with a system that is best for the country, we will keep dealing with the ineptitude of the above and get nowhere.(The writer is a tennis Olympian and CEO of Mittal Champions Trust)last_img