Robust Sport governance for national pride


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : sports bodies

Mains level : sport governance transparency

sport governanceContext

  • The judicial push for reforms in sport governance of various sporting bodies, football, hockey, table tennis and the Indian Olympic Association has understandably received mixed reactions.

Why in news?

  • The national sports federation’s usual governance practices do not place either the sport or the athlete front and centre; that space is reserved for official egos, whims and political clout.

What is sport governance?

  • Sport governance refers to the power a government has over institutions and allows their decisions to be made with due consideration to their influence, authority, and organizational structure.

Sports in India

  • Physical activity is fundamental to human beings:  The report states that having a fundamental right to literacy would mean identifying the intrinsic value of physical activity to human living.
  • Part of elementary education: It would mean not seeing physical activity as an end in itself, and the establishment of physical activity/ physical education as a core component of the education curriculum.
  • Supportive to other FRs: A fundamental right to physical literacy would actualise and enhance the enjoyment of other fundamental rights. It would go a long way in enhancing the opportunities and freedom to express oneself.
  • Enhancing life quality: A physically literate individual would have a more fulfilling life of higher quality than one who is not.  Physical literacy, as a building block, would go a long way in the promotion and realisation of the right to health and the right to education.

sport governance Issues with the Current Sports governance

  • Lack of check and balance: The biggest concern regarding these bodies so far has been a complete lack of checks and balances.
  • Excessive autonomy: In the pretext of autonomy, they have been allowed to function in any manner.
  • Less people centric approach: The federations have generally fallen short of public expressions and have failed to carry out their jobs. It has been largely attributed to the way they are governed.
  • Accountability: The current sports model faces accountability issues such as that of having unlimited discretionary powers and also there is no transparency in the decision-making.

sport governance


Sport governance in India is administered by

  • Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS)
  • National Sports Federation (NSF)
  • Indian Olympic Association (IOA)
  • State Olympic Association (SOA)
  • Sports Authority of India (SAI)

Positive Suggestions

  • Legislation: There must be presence of powerful and defined sports legislation in India covering all the nuances of sports and giving no arbiter powers to any authority.
  • Transparency-: To maintain transparency with expenditure and fund utilization, Information like a board of members, administrative officials, and remuneration information must be in public domain.
  • Women Representation: It is very important to have sufficient women representation in sports as well as in the administrative bodies, and it is the responsibility of these admin bodies to ensure sufficient representation from women in the board too, to maintain the diversity within the board.
  • Plans: There should be fix timelines disclosed which are to be adopted by sports bodies for the purpose of growth and development of sports in future, which is to be achieved in a given specific period of time. These kinds of timelines and plans would be motivational for players and bodies to. Goals to be targeted in future must be predecided, which can be well monitored and regulated by the authorities. Effective implementation would bring positive results in future.
  • Committees: To set up specific committees for specific activities relating to sports activities, like for planning, financing, research and development purposes. These committees would look after the particular task, which would bring transparency in work and achieving the common objective.
  • Rules and Regulations: like other fields, sports also have conflicts regarding disciplinary, administrative and management issues, to solve this issues governing bodies must set up a common judicial system (tribunal) to deal with sports-related conflicts.


  • There is a close association of sports with national pride and the kind of influence it has on the psyche of the nation, a role for the State is urgent in sports reforms.

Mains question

Q. The national sports federation’s usual governance practices do not place either the sport or the athlete front and centre; that space is reserved for official egos what do you think on this ? Explain the term sport governance with some dynamic changes needed in it.

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