World Championships bronze-medallist long jumper Anju Bobby George, Olympic bronze-medallist shooter Gagan Narang, former football captain Bhaichung Bhutia and national badminton coach Pulella Gopichand have been named in a 13-member expert committee formed by the Sports Ministry to review the controversial Draft National Sports Code 2017.
The expert committee will be headed by Supreme Court judge Justice (Retd) Mukundakam Sharma as its chairman.
The panel will also feature a representative from the Indian Olympic Association, which has rejected the document in current form as it seeks to put an age and tenure cap on sports administrators.
“The committee will try to strike a balance between autonomy of NSFs (National Sporting Federations) vis-a-vis need for transparency and autonomy,” the Sports Ministry’s notification, which is in possession of PTI, stated.
The NSFs will be represented by Boxing Federation of India president Ajay Singh, Sudhanshu Mittal (Kho Kho Federation of India), Adille Sumariwala (Athletics Federation of India) and BP Baishya (Weightlifting Federation of India).
The Sports Authority of India or a representative, Joint Secretary (Sports) and Dr A Jayathilak (Principal Secretary, Sports, Government of Kerala) will be the other members of the panel.
The committee has been formed to suggest measures to make the Sports Code acceptable to all the stakeholders as the IOA maintains that the code will put India at risk for a suspension from the International Olympic Committee.
The draft proposes drastic changes in the 2011 Code, including barring of ministers, members of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies and government servants from holding office in the IOA and NSFs, tenure restrictions and age cap of 70 years. The draft also widens its scope to all office-bearers and board members of the IOA and NSFs. It also calls on the NSFs to appoint CEOs, Nominee Directors and an Ombudsman.
Besides, an eminent athlete is also required to be a part of the NSFs. All NSFs will also have to constitute an athletes commission.
If implemented, the IOA and the NSFs will have six months to amend their constitutions as prescribed by the draft.