Businessmen heading sports bodies causing harm to games: Supreme Court

Regretting that "politics has brought down the game" of Hockey in India, the Supreme Court  Thursday deplored how businessmen and others, who had nothing to do with sports, headed various sporting bodies in the country.

"Sports are being run by private individual persons and businessmen. Private individuals are controlling the games in India. Can the game be held hostage by private interest? This is why hockey has come down and our team is struggling to qualify for Olympics whereas we used to win gold medals earlier," a bench of Justices T S Thakur and J Chelameshwar said.

The court was hearing a dispute between Indian Hockey Federation and Hockey India over the ratification by the Federation of International Hockey on their recognition for representing the country in international events.

Lamenting the state of affairs and unending court battles over control of sporting bodies, the bench called it "unfortunate" that the government failed miserably to control these institutions in the interest of the game and the "rot" in these bodies kept spreading.

"The government is unable to control the sport societies and you (bodies) keep fighting. Is there any federation which is not fighting legal battles in courts. In no other country such litigations are witnessed for controlling the games" said the bench.

The court pointed out that current state of affairs could also be

contributed to the involvement of persons who were in no manner associate with sports.

"Who are heading the sports federations? They are the businessmen and other perons. Is there any Olympian in the society. You brought this game to abysmal low that you do not qualify to send your team to international events. You brought this game to abysmal low that you do not qualify to send your team to international events," the bench told IHF's counsel.

... contd.

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