Days after academician and historian Ram Chandra Guha resigned from the Supreme court appointed Committee of Adminisrators, Sports minister Vijay Goel in a candid interview to Rajya Sabha TV, has said that very soon the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will be brought under the RTI net.
Refusing to comment on Guha’s resignation, Goel said that Lodha Committee had been appointed to fix the rot in BCCI which will put things in place for cricket.
Commenting on the bilateral cricket series between India and Pakistan, the sports minister said that terrorism and sports can’t go together.
Goel even dismissed his differences with the Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari, saying that all was well.
Here are the edited excerpts from the interview:
What have been the biggest achievements of the sports ministry?
Games and sports were never the focus in the past. We have started building infrastructure for sports. Setting up of the task force on Olympics has helped us in building excellent athletes. We have a portal which will help identify athletes form across the country and the government will give them scholarships. We are ready for Olympics much in advance.
Have you been able to tackle the lack of funds and infrastructure?
We should not link medals with sportsmanship. We have to promote all sports including cricket. We are on our way up as far as infrastructure is concerned. We are clubbing the infrastructure of Railways, Army and so on. Many problems have been resolved by clubbing the units.
What about the scientific backing to players and athletes?
We have ensured that foreign coaches are available to every player who is playing tournaments. They will get physical, psychological and emotional support whenever they need. We won’t be lacking on that front.
What about integrating sports with education?
Sports are important for a child’s growth. We are trying to make sports a compulsory subject till class 5. Parents and teachers need to join hands to make it happen. Our aim is to focus on a player’s interest. The focus is to develop a sport culture in the country. We are targeting 15000 schools for providing training in football. We encourage all kinds of sports and we are clubbing sports facilities with states too for maximum funding.
You said India can play cricket at multilateral events but not have bilateral cricketing ties with Pakistan. Does this not amount to jingoism and hypocrisy?
Terrorism and sports don’t go hand in hand. Somewhere even India has bilateral challenges. National security is my utmost priority, games are secondary. Pakistan needs to change its approach. People’s sentiment is a reason for not playing the bilateral games.
What do you have to say about Ram Chandra Guha’s resignation from the SC-appointed Committee of Administrators? He has exposed so many chinks in the cricket armour.
I need not comment on Guha’s resignation. Lodha committee was formed to fix issues. BCCI may come under RTI soon. For us all sports are equal.
Is all well between you and Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari?
I have no issues with Manoj Tiwari. Differences are bound to happen in a family, but they are all resolved now. I already hold a pivotal position so I’m not aiming for anything more.