Sports Ministry compromises autonomy of registered national sports bodies
BY CHAMPIKA FERNANDO
Jan 4, 2016
Fresh regulations under Sri Lanka’s decades-old Sports Law may have attempted to deal with several intrusive and restrictive regulations introduced in 2013 but, by introducing a set of mandatory requirements, the Sports Ministry has seriously compromised the autonomy of those registered national sports bodies in the country.
Sri Lanka introduced a set of regulations cited as the National Associations of Sports Regulations No. 01 of 2013. The International Olympic Committee then demanded that it scraps the controversial provisions to ensure autonomy and the jurisdiction of national sports associations or risk losing the international membership.
The proposed new regulations were the result of months of deliberations between the Sports Ministry and the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka--the two main stakeholders who designed them.
However they have failed to address the most pressing issue of politicisation of national sports bodies by introducing a set of mandatory requirements, greatly compromising the independence of the sports bodies.
The regulations have effectively limited the term of a president to a maximum of two terms, where a term could vary from a year to four years according to the constitution of the respective sports bodies in contrast to what is practiced by the international bodies.
“No person who has held office as President, Secretary or Treasurer shall be eligible for re-election for the same post for more than two consecutive terms.
“Provided, however that a person who held the post of Secretary or Treasurer for two consecutive terms shall be eligible for re-election for the same posts, after a lapse of a term period equivalent to one term out of office”, the regulations read.
This is in violation of the Olympic Sri Lanka introduced a set of regulations cited as the National Associations of Sports Regulations No. 01 of 2013. The International Olympic Committee then demanded that it scraps the controversial provisions to ensure autonomy and the jurisdiction of national sports associations or risk losing the international membership Charter and the governing statutes of most of the international sports bodies which put no restriction on the term of office and is likely to be shot down by the International Olympic Committee when sent for approval.
Associations argue that this is not only a violation of human rights; it is direct interference into the affairs of voluntary, non-profit and mostly self-financing sports bodies. They say it discourages volunteerism.
The regulations have effectively shut the door on anyone other than former players being elected to sports association except for the posts of treasurer and assistant treasurer and have laid down various conditions on their qualifications to hold office . Minister’s powers to grant permission to nonplayers have been restricted only to those who have excelled in sports in relation to the relevant sport as oppose to anyone previously. Age limit of 75-years has also been set.
“No person shall be eligible to be nominated for election as an Officebearer or Committee Member in any National Sports Association, other than as the Treasurer or Assistant Treasurer of that Association, unless he/she has represented Sri Lanka in that particular Sports or has taken part in a Major Tournament, Meet or Competition conducted and/or registered with and/or promoted by or approved by the relevant National Sports Association, in more than two occasions for a team sport and at least on one occasion for an individual event or sport.”
“Good players aren’t necessarily good administrators. For instance, Ana Punchihewa never played cricket but his contribution to the game of cricket is well documented. In the same way there are former players who have driven sports associations into abysmal level due to poor management skills. This will effectively shut the door on young professionals who would like to join sports administration for not being a player,’ argued a veteran administrator.
The regulations also ban politicians seeking office, a fundamental rights violation as determined by the Supreme A Sports Dispute Resolution Tribunal has been set up to deal with any dispute related to sport administration. This is hailed as a major breakthrough where sports associations will not engage in lengthy legal battles spending millions of monies meant for sports development in the event of any dispute. Court of Sri Lanka in 2003. The Supreme Court upheld a petition by parliamentarian Arjuna Ranatunga challenging a proposed sports law banning politicians from contesting elections of national sports bodies.
Even though the Sports Minister’s powers on appointment of selectors have been shelved and given it back to the National Sports Associations to name their own selectors, the NSA’S must get the approval of the proposed ‘National Selections Consultative Committee’ which will be appointed by the Minister of Sports.
The National Selections Consultative Committee (NSCC) selects players for international multidisciplinary sports competitions such as Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and South Asian Games and will also set the selection policy.
In addition this committee will ‘advice and assist every National Sports Association for selection and appointment of selection, ranking or seeding committees and national coaches of such National Sports Associations and tour/team managers of any national team. Selected teams for international competitions require minister’s approval which has been the practice for many decades.
“Every National Sports Association shall obtain approval of “National Selections Consultative Committee”, prior to appointment of the aforesaid Committees,” the section 5 of article 19 reads.
However the section 4 of article 22 says “The National Selection Consultative Committee shall consist of :
On the plus side, the powers vested with the director general of sports in election of office bearers to national sports associations have been transferred to an Election Committee constituted by the association. The Election Committee is responsible for the holding the election of office bearers as oppose to the Director General of Sports previously.
For an instance, the accepting and rejecting nominations should be done in accordance with the provisions of the constitutions of the National Sports Associations as oppose to the director general of sports previously. Voting can be done by show of hands or secret vote as stipulated in the constitutions of respective sports bodies. A Sports Dispute Resolution Tribunal has been set up to deal with any dispute related to sport administration.
This is hailed as a major breakthrough where sports associations will not engage in lengthy legal battles spending millions of monies meant for sports development in the event of any dispute.
Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka
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