In terms of cultural, social, and sporting history, India has long been a world
leader. With its diverse cultural and sporting past, it has always set an
example for the rest of the world. It produced eminent athletes in a variety of
sports who made significant contributions to the field.
From Major Dhyan Chand's
three Olympic gold medals to the Indian Cricket Team's world cup victories at
Lords and again in 2011, Indian athletes have always flown the Indian flag high.
Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar and Milkha Singh (the flying Sikh) have long been role
models for the new generation. Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, the living legend,
received the first Bharat Ratna in the sphere of sports.
Due to its proximity, the grandeur of Indian sports has outshined India in the
world. Sports have been one such arena in India, where there have been both
horizons and obstacles. The government of India regulates and monitors Indian
sports through autonomous sports federations, which are monopolistic in nature
and character in their particular sports fields.
It's not as though Indian
Sports hasn't had its share of stumbling blocks and imperfections. The problem
of these National Sports Federations' responsibility and openness has been put
to the test in the public eye. The regulations governing sports in India have
taken a long time to come into effect.
Sports have long been a contentious cornerstone of Indian law, with an
unresolved position. Litigation and legal conflicts in many sports have forced
the judiciary to step in and umpire the game. The introduction of the Indian
Premier League sparked a lot of excitement and enthusiasm among the general
The current spot-fixing and betting schemes, on the other hand, have
engulfed the entire event in scandal and criticism. Similarly, India's hosting
of the Commonwealth Games in 2010 earned it a reputation for corruption and
The public prosecution of the game's organizers on charges of corruption
tarnished India's sports image around the world. As a result of the
repercussions, the International Olympic Committee banned the Indian Olympic
Association and demanded that it have free and fair elections to keep its
membership. Another factor contributing to the fall of sports spirit in India is
the dispute between sports bodies and players.
Another issue contributing to the
fall in quality-oriented sports in India is the current situation of players at
both the national and state levels.
This research paper deals with the critical issues about sports and analyses
sports laws in India. It sheds light on the current status of sports and
investigates the reasons for it. It proposes key sports reforms for the rebirth
of India's sporting glory. Until the daybreak of change takes over the might,
the audacity of hope will continue to shine.
Sports Law In India
The power of the Parliament and the State Legislatures to make laws relating to
sports is reflected in the Indian Constitution. In India, however, no such
substantial governmental law exists to regulate the sphere of sports. In the
past, the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs has written and issued extensive
guidelines known as the "National Sports Development Code of India" in response
to successive National Sports Policies in 1975, 1988, 1997, and 2001.
sports codes have been published in the Indian Gazette for all National Sports
Federations to follow. Various states, such as Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and Haryana, have exercised legislative power in their
respective jurisdictions and established legislation regulating sports activity,
such as registration, regulation, and recognition of Sports Associations (Uttar
Pradesh has since repealed the Act).
Following the 2001 guidelines, the
government took several major steps, including declaring National Sports
Federations (NSFs) that receive government funding as public authorities under
the Right to Information Act of 2005, imposing an age and tenure limit on NSF
office bearers, notifying and enforcing the NADA Anti-Doping Rules, introducing
guidelines for preventing age fraud in sports, and establishing guidelines for
holding fair elections.
These guidelines are intended to promote good governance among NSFs as a means
of increasing their autonomy in carrying out their functions and duties by the
Olympic Charter and the basic principles and rules that govern the Olympic
movement, as well as in the interest of sports development in general and
athlete welfare in particular. A substantial number of federations have either
embraced or declared their plan to adopt the good governance principles
communicated by the Government from time to time, which is welcomed.
Athletics, Badminton, Boxing, Golf, Hockey, Gymnastics, Rowing, Shooting,
Tennis, Volleyball, Weightlifting, and Yachting are among the federations
responsible for major sporting disciplines. National Sports Development Code
2011 was created by compiling all previous instructions into a single
document to improve conformity with the basic global principles of good
governance in sports, hence promoting a strong sporting culture and sports
excellence in the country. Another law, the Right to Information Act of 2005,
allows access to information regarding the operations of National Sports
Federations that receive subsidies from the federal government.
Sports Policy In Major Games
Indian Hockey: Hockey is India's national sport. It is a sport that has produced
legends such as Major Dhyan Chand. For his country, he won three Olympic gold
medals. Sports, which were once the pride of India, have regrettably lost their
worth and become unpopular in the country. In contrast to cricket, the calibre
of Indian hockey has deteriorated.
The conflict between the Indian Hockey
Federation (IHF) and the Federation of Indian Hockey (FIH) is well-known, and it
has lowered the standard of hockey in India. Even though the FIH is India's only
recognized and sole governing organization for hockey, the dispute between the
two federations has created severe concerns for the sport's future.
To prevent further decline of hockey in India, the Delhi High Court and the
Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs intervened. Without a doubt, hockey has
lost its lustre and is no longer the same as it was during the Dhyan Chand
period. Hockey players' living conditions in India have deteriorated due to the
federation's internal politics. The lack of control and regulation was at the
root of the Hockey disaster. In the Hockey Federation, there has been a
leadership vacuum. The only option is for the entire federation to be
restructured with public accountability.
Commonwealth Games 2010
In October 2010, India hosted the historic Commonwealth Games. It was the
largest Commonwealth Games ever, with 6,081 competitors from 71 Commonwealth
nations and dependencies competing in 21 sports and 272 events. It was also the
largest international multi-sport event ever held in Delhi, surpassing the Asian
Games in 1951 and 1982. Even though India did a fantastic job hosting the Games,
the games cast severe doubt on the country's capabilities and efficiency.
entire game was overshadowed by allegations of corruption, an exaggerated
economic budget, infrastructure compromises, and delayed arrangements. Even
then-Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh paid a personal visit to the games site
to help speed up the preparations. The indictment of game organizers for
corruption ushered in dark days for Indian sports. The national sports
federations have an obvious lack of administrative efficiency and coordination.
As a result of India's failure to meet its Olympic charter duties, the
International Olympic Committee had no choice but to expel the country from the
games. At the International Sports Forum, Indian sports were embarrassed. In
India, there was no formal authority, rule, or regulation to control sports,
further dampening the idea of Indian sports. The manner in which events unfolded
shattered India's goal of hosting the International Olympics. Unfortunately, the
Indian Olympic Association is more concerned with court cases and litigation
than with the development of sports in India.
Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI)
The Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) is the governing body of
cricket in India. The BCCI is a private organization that claims to be the
controlling authority for cricket in India. Its Memorandum of
States that its objectives include controlling the game of
cricket in India, resolving disputes and making decisions on matters referred to
it by any State, Regional, or other Association, promoting the game, framing the
laws of cricket in India, selecting teams to represent India in Test Matches and
other events, and appointing India's representatives to the International
Cricket Conference and other conferences/seminars, all of which are related to
cricket. The supreme court of the country awarded BCCI the leverage and legal
standing of being a private organization in the matter of Zee Telefilms vs.
Union of India
It has always dodged public scrutiny and accountability at
the behest of this momentous decision. Several RTI cases have been filed with
the board and the Chief Information Commissioner. The cricket board's
engagements and activities, financial transactions, public accountability, and
transparency of decision-making are all unregulated, even though it performs
"public function" on a huge scale.
Even though it is a "private body," the Board has consistently opposed any
inspection or audit of its accounts. Justice S. B. Sinha and Justice S.N.
Variava, in their dissenting opinion, held BCCI liable under the "public
function test." It considered BCCI's public functions, with the Minority Bench
observing that a body performing public responsibilities and exercising monopoly
power would constitute an authority under Article 12. The BCCI has
responsibilities such as governing and regulating cricket. It has the last say
in cases involving the selection and disqualification of players, umpires, and
those involved in the game, as well as their right to free expression and
It makes the law on the subject which is essentially a state function in terms
of (Entry 33) List-III of the Seventh Schedule11 to the Constitution;12 it thus
acquires the status of monopoly.13 BCCI has framed In terms of (Entry 33)
List-III of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution, it creates law on
the topic, which is basically a state function; it thereby gets monopoly
status. In exercising its functions under the Memorandum of Association, the
BCCI has drafted rules and regulations.
It carries out the BCCI's powers and
duties, which include arranging, controlling, and regulating visits of foreign
cricket teams to India and visits of Indian teams to foreign countries,
permitting or refusing any visit by a team of players to a foreign country or to
India, framing the laws of cricket in India, and making changes to those laws,
To take disciplinary action against a player or a member of the Board of
Directors, etc., amendments or additions to the laws of cricket in India are
made whenever desired or appropriate.
It's also worth noting that, with the advent of the IPL, BCCI's power has grown
by leaps and bounds. According to the decision in Secretary, Ministry of
Information and Broadcasting, Government of India and Others v. Cricket
Association of Bengal and Others, the game of cricket incorporates both the
broadcaster's and spectators' rights.
The right to transmit a sporting event
will thus include the right to educate and teach current and potential athletes
interested in the game, as well as to inform and entertain fans of the game.) It
is the only organization that governs television and broadcasting rights, as
well as the rights of people to watch matches on television and other visual
It has authority over franchises, endorsements, prize money distribution, player
selection, and disqualification, among other things. As a result, BCCI has
complete monopoly power. However, it is not constrained by any effective laws,
rules, or government control, and it is not required to operate fairly and
decently under Article 14 of the Constitution.
According to a minority
viewpoint, performing a public function in the context of the constitution would
entail allowing an entity to act as an authority under Article 12, which would
subject it to constitutional basic rights discipline. There are no regulations
other than acting properly and reasonably.
Controversy in the Indian Premier League: The Indian Premier League is no
stranger to controversy. However, on May 16, it faced perhaps its most serious
crisis when three Rajasthan Royals players - Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila, and
Ankeet Chavan - were detained for spot-fixing by Delhi Police shortly after
their match in Mumbai. Eleven bookies were also detained at the time, including
one former Royals player, Amit Singh.
The Royals' players were then suspended,
and the BCCI launched an investigation into the claims, which was led by ACSU
chief Ravi Sawani. The board also declared that anti-corruption procedures will
be strengthened, with each club receiving two additional security staff. The
arrests sparked a nationwide hunt for the arrest of bookies, which is banned in
A small-time actor, Virender "Vindoo" Dara Singh, was arrested in Mumbai on
suspicion of having connections with bookies. On May 24, authorities arrested
Meiyappan Gurunath, a prominent official of Chennai Super Kings and the
son-in-law of BCCI president N Srinivasan, based on his statement.
along with 39 others, were finally charged under sections of the Indian Penal
Code and the Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act by the Delhi Police (MCOCA).
After Sawani's probe found them guilty of rigging, the BCCI constituted a
probe panel and handed out life bans to Sreesanth and Chavan.
However, the board's own investigation panel into claims of betting and
spot-fixing in the IPL season six betting and fixing scandal cleared former BCCI
President N Srinivasan and Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra. The Bombay High
Court declared the investigative panel "illegal and unconstitutional" in July
The court questioned the findings of the investigative panel, which found
that Board President N Srinivasan's Chennai Super Kings and his son-in-law
Gurunath Meiyappan were not guilty. The HC panel rejected the BCCI's argument
that it could not be sued in court for an IPL-related problem, saying the matter
was within the court's jurisdiction and in the "greater public interest," and
that the cricket board was "answerable." It also refused to grant the BCCI a
stay on its order.
Mukul Mudgal Committee
The Supreme Court of India constituted a one-member committee headed by Justice
(Retd.) Mukul Mudgal to investigate charges of betting and spot-fixing in the
Indian Premier League in October 2013 in response to a BCCI plea (IPL). In
February 2014, Justice Mudgal filed his report to the Supreme Court. The
report's specifics have not been made public.
The Honourable Supreme Court of India is presently hearing the case. Opinion:
The fact that the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) still lacks
transparency and accountability after the Zee Telefilms judgment in 2005 is a
harsh truth. The Union Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs attempted multiple
times to bring the BCCI under the Right to Information Act of 2005. The central
sports ministry is debating whether or not to introduce a sports bill to hold
the BCCI accountable. However, the Ministry's efforts were thwarted due to
significant opposition and exertion of influence by the Manmohan Singh
government's board of directors.
The board has been claiming to be a private group to avoid public responsibility
and scrutiny. The board must undoubtedly respond to a slew of questions
concerning its operations, as it has sparked widespread skepticism. How can a
body that performs a monopolistic role, has a direct relationship with the
public interest, receives low tax funds, and provides security for events not be
The claim that it is a "private body" contradicts its
exclusive nature of functions. The board is regarded as one of the richest and
most powerful cricket bodies in the world, according to the International
Cricket Council (ICC).
It enjoys de facto recognition from the government and performs functions that
are sovereign in character. Why should BCCI be given elite exclusive status when
other sports bodies, such as the Indian Hockey Federation, Indian Golf
Federation, and Indian Olympic Association, have been forced to adhere to the
"Nation Sports Development Code2011"? The IPL brand has helped the cricket board
gain more clout in Indian sports. The recent spot-fixing and betting scandals
remind us that the time has come for the Indian government to exert its
authority and draught a standard sports law for the entire country.
Powers to govern and regulate sports in India must be given to the Ministry of
Sports and Youth Affairs. It must also have the authority to act in cases of
power abuse, fraud, and corruption. The promotion of the rule of fairness and
fair play by sporting bodies/federations is in the national interest.
In times of crisis, there is always an opportunity. All that is required is the
resolve to succeed and the ability to lead. In this reform debate, we must
remember that our greatest national asset is that we have the world's youngest
population. Sports are an example of an area that has to be reformed and aligned
with the younger generation. There is a lot of potential for bringing sports
into the mainstream.
This is where the law may make a significant contribution
to the promotion and welfare of sports in India. The Parliament must discuss and
implement a uniform sports law to unite all sports, games, and any other
connected or incidental subjects under one umbrella, just as there has been a
long debate for a law on Uniform Civil Code.
This standard regulation has the potential to make Indian sports federations
more transparent, accountable, and open to public inspection. A National Sports
Authority, which functions as a regulator and coordinator in the sphere of
sports, is urgently needed.
When athletes retire from their professional
careers, they frequently become celebrities and ribbon-cutting personalities. It
is past time for their wisdom and experience to be recognized and put to good
use by the nation. As a result, these athletes should make up the members of the
Their input of knowledge and experience will only benefit the country's sports
development. Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, popularly known as
the BRICS nations, have had the honor of hosting the International Olympic
Games. South Africa is a strong contender for the 2024 Olympic Games. India, on
the other hand, is an outlier, as its social, political, and economic
circumstances have put it behind in the race. The Commonwealth Games debacle was
a prime example of how India's image on the international scene has
deteriorated. Law has the potential to help achieve the goal of hosting the
International Olympic Games.
As previously stated, legislative amendments will increase openness and
accelerate the growth of sports culture. The sports legislation has the
potential to integrate the sports industry into the mainstream of the economy.
It has the potential to develop jobs as well as platforms for international
sports training. In the field of sports, foreign direct investment should be
When it comes to constitutional issues, the preamble's goals,
fundamental rights, and state policy direction principles can all be realized by
following the principle of equality, justice, and fair play. At the top, there
has been a shift of power. A new government has been installed.
Correlating Law with Sports has the potential to bring about reformative
reforms. There is a lot of room for sports culture to be instilled in schools
and educational institutions. For India's sports culture to grow, a "National
Sports Policy" should be developed. The health and fitness of the younger
generation should be prioritized. To motivate our future generations, there
should be a concept of "marks for sports" in educational institutions. We can be
a world leader in sports by planning for the future today.
- Newspaper Articles:
- BCCI suspends Rajasthan Royals' Sreesanth, 2 others after arrest for
spot-fixing. Mumbai: Hindustan Times. 16 May 2013.
- SC asks Srinivasan to step down as BCCI chief". The Hindu. 25 March 2014
- India tries to put modern face forward for Games. The Express Tribune.
27 September 2010.
- Commonwealth Games security lagging. Ndtv.com. Retrieved on 6 July 2010.
- CBI to file chargesheet in Queen's baton scam". The Times of India. 9 August
- Trouble for Kalmadi, CBI files another FIR in Swiss firm deal case". The
Indian Express. 24 August 2012.
- Ready to postpone WSH till March, organizers tell the court. Indian
Express. 8 December 2011.
- Delhi HC paves way for players' participation in World Series Hockey".
Times of India. 13 February 2012.
- Internet Sources:
- T.M.C. Asser Institute
- Business News Today: Read the Latest Business news, India Business News
Live, Share Market & EconomyNews | The Economic Times (indiatimes.com)
Full coverage of the IPL spot-fixing allegations (espncricinfo.com)
- (Entry-33) Concurrent List- III of Schedule-VII, Constitution of India, https://www.mea.gov.in/Images/pdf1/S7.pdf
- Uttar Pradesh (Registration, Recognition and Regulation of Association)
(Repeal) Act, 2007
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Youth Affairs, Govt. of India)
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- ESPN News Report; http://www.espncricinfo.com/indian-premier-league-2013/content/story/636375.html
- Board of Control for Cricket Versus Cricket Association of Bihar and
Others  5 MLJ 774
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