indian sport

From an independent regulator to criminalising match-fixing: Reforms that Indian sport needs

The reforms were suggested during a recent symposium cover the structural part of sports.

From forming a sports election commision to cutting down the powers of sports federations to sanction professional leagues, a whole lot of recommendations were made during the Sports Law Symposium in Bengaluru, held on Saturday. Issues that have been plaguing Indian sport were dealt with in a first of the its kind recently.

The conference was attended by the likes of former Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra and retired chief Justice Mukul Mudgal, among others, who propsed changes to India’s sporting structure.

A total of ten recommendations were made with a view to propel Indian sports to greater heights. Bindra, who wrote the foreword for the final list of recommendations, insisted on widespread reform:

  “The urge to implement these reforms should be the top priority because the sporting lives of athletes are short. Given the current state of administration across sporting bodies, one can derail an athlete’s ambitions. Indian athletes deserve accountable and transparent systems.”  

The reforms suggested during the symposium cover the structural part of sports. They also included the integrity and representation across federations. It was suggested that athletes should have a representation across all sporting bodies. Even gender representation was touched upon. The conference also suggested rationalising the sanctioning power of sports federations for professional leagues and also keeping in mind funding.

Here are the key takeaways from the ten reforms suggested during the symposium:

Include ‘sport’ in the Concurrent List: It is important that ‘sport’ should make the concurrent list allowing both the centre and the state to have the power to constitutionalise the sport. Sports under law, comes under the entertainment and amusements. It has been seen as a recreational activity and not as a profession.

Constitute an independent regulator for sport: An independent sports regulator, instituted under legislation, should be formed along the lines of the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). Such a body will ensure that federations remain independent and are supervised by an independent regulator who is not affiliated to the government.

Create a sports election commission: If such a commission is formed, elections will be conducted in a fair and transparent manner across all sporting bodies.

Constitute a sports tribunal to resolve sports related disputes: With sports disputes heading towards Indian courts most of the time, a sports tribunal will issue speedy solution to disputes. This will ease the burden on the courts as well.

Institute uniform guidelines to tackle age-fraud in sport: Age-fraud has been a constant hindrance across all sporting events. However, a uniform guideline should be formed that will ensure a level playing field for junior athletes.

Pass anti-doping legislation with mandated protocols: Doping is another problem plaguing Indian sport. Athletes need to be educated about the pros and cons of doping. National and state federations and coaches/support staff will also be held responsible for actions of their athletes.

Criminalise match manipulation: Match-fixing is not new to Indian sports especially Indian cricket. However, one has to make sure that is dealt with strictly if one has to stop the influence it might have on budding athletes.

Institutionalize athlete and gender representation across federations: Currently, there is Under-representation or rather no representation of athletes and women in governing roles in sports federations. However, that has to change to empower the sport.

Rationalise the sanctioning power of sports federations for professional leagues: If there is a separation of powers, it will result in greater transparency and reduce conflict of interest among representatives. Different functions will lead to cleaner structures.

Incentivize sports funding and participation: It is important to incentivize sport to make it more lucrative. Even companies should invest in sport as part of their CSR funding.

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“My body instantly craves chai and samosa”

German expats talk about adapting to India, and the surprising similarities between the two cultures.

The cultural similarities between Germany and India are well known, especially with regards to the language. Linguists believe that Sanskrit and German share the same Indo-Germanic heritage of languages. A quick comparison indeed holds up theory - ratha in Sanskrit (chariot) is rad in German, aksha (axle) in Sanskrit is achse in German and so on. Germans have long held a fascination for Indology and Sanskrit. While Max Müller is still admired for his translation of ancient Indian scriptures, other German intellectuals such as Goethe, Herder and Schlegel were deeply influenced by Kalidasa. His poetry is said to have informed Goethe’s plays, and inspired Schlegel to eventually introduce formal Indology in Germany. Beyond the arts and academia, Indian influences even found their way into German fast food! Indians would recognise the famous German curry powder as a modification of the Indian masala mix. It’s most popular application is the currywurst - fried sausage covered in curried ketchup.

It is no wonder then that German travellers in India find a quite a lot in common between the two cultures, even today. Some, especially those who’ve settled here, even confess to Indian culture growing on them with time. Isabelle, like most travellers, first came to India to explore the country’s rich heritage. She returned the following year as an exchange student, and a couple of years later found herself working for an Indian consultancy firm. When asked what prompted her to stay on, Isabelle said, “I love the market dynamics here, working here is so much fun. Anywhere else would seem boring compared to India.” Having cofounded a company, she eventually realised her entrepreneurial dream here and now resides in Goa with her husband.

Isabelle says there are several aspects of life in India that remind her of home. “How we interact with our everyday life is similar in both Germany and India. Separate house slippers to wear at home, the celebration of food and festivals, the importance of friendship…” She feels Germany and India share the same spirit especially in terms of festivities. “We love food and we love celebrating food. There is an entire countdown to Christmas. Every day there is some dinner or get-together,” much like how Indians excitedly countdown to Navratri or Diwali. Franziska, who was born in India to German parents, adds that both the countries exhibit the same kind of passion for their favourite sport. “In India, they support cricket like anything while in Germany it would be football.”

Having lived in India for almost a decade, Isabelle has also noticed some broad similarities in the way children are brought up in the two countries. “We have a saying in South Germany ‘Schaffe Schaffe Hausle baue’ that loosely translates to ‘work, work, work and build a house’. I found that parents here have a similar outlook…to teach their children to work hard. They feel that they’ve fulfilled their duty only once the children have moved out or gotten married. Also, my mother never let me leave the house without a big breakfast. It’s the same here.” The importance given to the care of the family is one similarity that came up again and again in conversations with all German expats.

While most people wouldn’t draw parallels between German and Indian discipline (or lack thereof), Germans married to Indians have found a way to bridge the gap. Take for example, Ilka, who thinks that the famed differences of discipline between the two cultures actually works to her marital advantage. She sees the difference as Germans being highly planning-oriented; while Indians are more flexible in their approach. Ilka and her husband balance each other out in several ways. She says, like most Germans, she too tends to get stressed when her plans don’t work out, but her husband calms her down.

Consequently, Ilka feels India is “so full of life. The social life here is more happening; people smile at you, bond over food and are much more relaxed.” Isabelle, too, can attest to Indians’ friendliness. When asked about an Indian characteristic that makes her feel most at home, she quickly answers “humour.” “Whether it’s a taxi driver or someone I’m meeting professionally, I’ve learnt that it’s easy to lighten the mood here by just cracking a few jokes. Indians love to laugh,” she adds.

Indeed, these Germans-who-never-left as just diehard Indophiles are more Indian than you’d guess at first, having even developed some classic Indian skills with time. Ilka assures us that her husband can’t bargain as well as she does, and that she can even drape a saree on her own.

Isabelle, meanwhile, feels some amount of Indianness has seeped into her because “whenever its raining, my body instantly craves chai and samosa”.

Like the long-settled German expats in India, the German airline, Lufthansa, too has incorporated some quintessential aspects of Indian culture in its service. Recognising the centuries-old cultural affinity between the two countries, Lufthansa now provides a rich experience of Indian hospitality to all flyers on board its flights to and from India. You can expect a greeting of Namaste by an all-Indian crew, Indian food, and popular Indian in-flight entertainment options. And as the video shows, India’s culture and hospitality have been internalized by Lufthansa to the extent that they are More Indian Than You Think. To experience Lufthansa’s hospitality on your next trip abroad, click here.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Lufthansa as part of their More Indian Than You Think initiative and not by the Scroll editorial team.