Sports Law In India: Present Scenario and Loopholes


Introduction Sports Law is an amalgam of laws that apply to athletes and therefore the sports they play. Sports Law touches on a spread of matters including contract, tort, agency, antitrust Constitutional labour, trademark, Sex Discrimination, criminal and tax issues. Some laws depend on the status of the athletes, some laws differ according to the sport and some laws vary for other reasons. Many people perceive professional sports as beneficial for the local economy and essential to an area’s civic identity. Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh are the only two states where there is a functional Sports Law at present. In India, the provincial sports bodies work under non-profit making organizations under the company law jurisdiction. Rules and regulations like statutory orders act only as secondary legislations supplementing laws. The Present Scenarios The ministry of youth affairs and sports is responsible for handling the administration and funding of sports. The cabinet minister heads the ministry and the national sports federation manages it. As the form of recreation has grown by leaps and bounds and India has become a brimming venue for holding many national and international events during its time that rules and regulations are also in place. Hence the need to have sports laws in place and thus banish the grey areas. The UN has already recognized sport as a way of promoting health, education, and development, hence the need to streamline the field with suitable law system. In India presently there is no state legislation to regulate sports. The government had undertaken the infrastructure development task and excellence achievement task in sports but the administration and sports activities are in hands of autonomous authorities like Indian Olympic Association (IOA), Sports Authority of India (SAI), Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Though these governing bodies to receive the government’s aid as they are registered under the societies registration’s act of 1860. The following govern the whole of the Sports Law: • National sports policy, 1984/2001 • Sports Law and Welfare Associations of India • Sports Authority of India • The Sports Broadcasting Signals Act Loopholes The sporting world has been plagued by scandals and controversies in the past few decades. The Olympic Games Bidding Scandal, the recent IPL scam and allegations of sexual harassment by the Indian Women’s Hockey Team have rocked the nation. From six gold medals in a row from 1928 to 1956, the Indian Hockey team hit an all time low failing to qualify for the 2008 Olympics. This incident exposed the maladministration and insularity of a defective system that drained our resources. Even the gentleman’s game cricket has been marred by match fixing and payment by bookies. All these incidents expose the dark side of a highly competitive world. Major problems that sports world faces are : • Labour Issues: Players and owners have to negotiate mandatory issues relating to hours, wages and working conditions. The agents entrusted to conduct business on player’s behalf should be working as per well laid out norms that serve the best interests of the game. • Drug Use: The problem of performance enhancing drugs a major problem that needs to be addressed. Drug testing, list of banned drugs, penalties, privacy issues and right to appeal must be clearly stated by the nodal agency concerned. • Tort Laws: Tort Laws were once not a part of the landscape of sports laws. But intentional tort pointing to a criminal act of assault needs to be penalized. Similarly right to publicity has to deal with the defamation of a person’s character and reputation. • Betting and match fixing: The Sports law is pivotally concerned with the occurrences of corrupting activities during a sporting event. Betting, gambling, and match-fixing are some of the integral corrupting ingredients. The key issues faced by the Indian sports include: • Inefficient or inappropriate deployment of funds • Mistakes in management Non-accountability for results • Prejudice in selection procedures for national teams • Undemocratic or unethical electoral practices in sports bodies Thus India needs a national legislation for promotion, development and uniform regulation for sports in India. Sport figures in the State list of the Seventh Schedule (entry 33) of the Constitution. Though there was a proposal to include sports in Concurrent List over which both state as well as centre will be competent to make laws, however, the government has failed to do so. Further the government has failed to implement National Sports Policy of India even after its repeated attempts. Conclusion The legislative intervention is a must for the flourishing of sports law in India, so as to flourish sports and the athletes. It is necessary for the nation to comprehend that sports are no more a battle among athletes competing for the top ranks, but also involve complicated legal matters along with a huge stake in the career of a sportsperson

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