New Delhi: Unwilling to be a party in legal disputes between sportspersons, national federations and international bodies, the Sports Ministry today asked all NSFs to institute effective, transparent and fair grievance redressal systems for athletes. Stressing on the autonomy of National Sports Federations (NSFs), the Ministry said since it does not interfere in the day-to-day running of their affairs, it does not wish to be dragged to court on disputes either.
“In almost all such cases (disputes between athletes, federations and international bodies), the experience has shown that this Ministry is also unnecessarily made a party and impleaded as a respondent, though this Ministry has hardly any role to play in the settlement of such disputes which are basically internal matters of the NSFs concerned,” the Ministry said in a statement.
Therefore, the ministry has advised that a “specific provision be made by each NSF in its constitution/bye-laws to the effect that any sportsperson and/or support personnel aggrieved by any decision or action of an International Sports Association/Federation imposing any penalty or punishment by way of disciplinary action or otherwise may raise that dispute before the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) and/or the International Council of Arbitration for Sports (ICAS) either by himself/herself or through the NSF concerned.”
The ministry also feels that certain sportspersons and coaches and others participating in international events have been “unjustly penalised or subjected to harsh disciplinary proceedings for trifling faults on their part.”
The Ministry said the NSFs need to have effective systems in place to ensure that aggrieved athletes are supported well in case of disputes in the international arena.
“…These bodies entertain disputes only if the federations, associations or other sports related bodies, at the national and international levels, make specific provisions in their regulations for referring such matters to them or agree to such reference by specific agreement,” a ministry release said.
Referring to the international suspension of woman boxer L Sarita Devi, which was challenged in the Delhi High Court, the Ministry said it had been directed by the Court to ensure “incorporation of a specific provision by the NSFs in their constitutions/bye-laws for dispute settlement…”
The Ministry said the latest missive to the NSFs is in compliance with the High Court order.