National sports policies limited to paper: 21 sports associations operating against the policy

Sports Council

There are 61 sports associations registered in the National Sports Council. Among them, 21 have not held a general meeting even after the term of the working committee has ended. They have not been disbanded as they are compulsory sports associations under the National Sports Council. However, the National Sports Council has stopped supporting them financially.

“The associations that have expired are our mandatory associations. But the National Sports Council will not be able to provide any financial support to these associations until the registration account is updated,” said Chandrakumar Rai, Head of the National Sports Council-Coordination Branch.

The Athletics Association, Badminton Association, and All Nepal Table Tennis Association have not held their general meeting on time. Some of them have not held a general meeting since forming a special committee.

In Section 28 (6) of the National Sports Development Act 2020, it is mentioned that there should be periodic election of the office bearers of the association under the statute of the association. Even though it has been more than two years since the establishment of the working committee, the Athletics Association has not held even one meeting, afterwards.

Rajiv Bikram Shah, the coordinator of the Athletics Association, said that the general meeting could not be held due to the interference of the National Sports Council. “It interfered with the programme of our association when the special committee was going to be formed by the representatives from World Athletics. As a result, we could not even form a special committee,” he said.

Shah said that it was decided that after the representatives of World Athletics came to Nepal in mid-April, 2023, an ad-hoc committee (special committee) would be formed immediately and the association’s constitution would be drafted and the election of the executive committee would be held.

As the Athletics Association has not renewed itself and has not got any budget from the National Sports council, it does not have to submit the accounts of income and expenses to the National Sports Council during the national competitions. However, the National Sports Council has suspected of the financial misappropriation.

“Even though we know the internal affairs of the association, many things are not spoken. During the national and international competitions, we have to suffer on the ground when the associations are scattered,” said a player who has won medals in international games from athletics.

According to rule 10 of the National Sports Development Regulations 2022, associations and federations registered under the National Sports Act 2020 must submit an application for renewal of the registration along with documents 15 days before the end of the period of association registration in accordance with subsection 9 of Section 26 of the Sports Act 2020.

The Badminton Association is another association that runs contrary to the policy. The employees say that the union held the election on September 16, 2023 without the approval of the National Sports Council. Badminton Association Coordinator Ramji Bahadur Shrestha alleges that the National Sports Council did not recognise their election due to political interests.

Sports laws and policies limited in paper

Many aspects of National Sports Development Act 2020 and National Sports Development Regulations 2022 are not seen in practice. Nepali sports are not progressing smoothly because the laws and policies releated to sports are limited to papper hindering the development of Nepali sports fraternity.

According to the policy, the associations under Nepal Sports Council have to organise at least one natioanal-level competition in a year. However, so far, except for a few associations registered in Nepal Sports Council, other have not conducted a single national -level competition. Chandra Rai, HoD of Sports Competition and Planning Department of the National Sports Council said that due to the lack of budget the national level programme could not be organised.

“There are some associations whose budgets are low and they cannot even hold one game every year. A budget of Rs 1 million is not enough to hold a national-level competition. The unpopular games do not even get sponsors,” said Rai.

So far, there are sports associations like Shooting, Gymnastics, Soft Tennis, All Nepal Table Tennis Association, and Breakin and Dance Sports Association in the list which do not hold a single sports event in a year.

Regulations have been made to keep the association in order. But even those regulations have not been followed. An example of this is the actions taken by All Nepal Football Association (ANFA).

The tussel between Nepal Sports Council and ANFA

Since the home and away match between Nepal and Bahrain could not be played at the home ground, nine officials from ANFA were sent to Malaysia along with the players without informing the Nepal Sports Council.

Whereas in Section 28 (9) of the National Sports Act, there is a provision to send players and members to international level sports with the approval of the council. But the Ministry of Youth and Sports expressed concern that ANFA did not comply with it. It issued a statement on March 13 and reminded the provisions of the Sports Development Act to ANFA.

After that, Nepal Sports Council asked ANFA for a written explanation with in 24 hours for the first time on March 14. ANFA General Secretary Kiran Rai sent a reply saying that because the associations are autonomous, the National Sports Council was not informed and nine officials who had ‘contributed’ to football were sent abroad.

The National Sports Council was not satisfied with this answer of ANFA. Rai said, “There is no such creteria and its anwer is not acceptable.”

Eventually, on March 25, the ministry again inquired about the same issue giving a deadline of three days. However, ANFA submitted a three-point explanation to National Sports Council only five days after the deadline.

According to the law related to sports, there is a clear provision that if the association violates any rule, it can be suspended. But until now, even if the associations do not fulfill their duties, National Sports Council has not taken strict action. According to the sports policy, if any sports association or federation violates any of the conditions there is a provision for the council to suspent such association for three months.

With the fear of bad reputation in international sports senario the National Sports Council has not been able to take action against any of the associations that have voilated the rules and regulations.

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Dahal is a sports journalist at Onlinekhabar.

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