Sports ministry calls for N Srinivasan to quit, law to be comprehensive

Even as the Law Ministry and the Sports Ministry are engaged in fine tuning a draft law to prevent manipulation of matches, the Sports Ministry has come out with an appeal for BCCI President N Srinivasan to step down.

In a statement, the Youth Affairs and Sports ministry said Srinivasan should step down on ‘moral grounds’ as he and his son in law are both facing allegations of involvement in an illegal betting operation around the Indian Premier League.

“BCCI is inquiring into allegations of match and spot fixing. As there is a conflict of interest in this inquiry, therefore BCCI President should tender his resignation on moral grounds, pending the outcome of the inquiry,” it said.

Srinivasan has ruled out quitting stating that nobody in the BCCI board has asked him to do so.

The Sports Ministry’s statement can be seen as an attempt to clear the impression that it is batting on behalf of big names in the sports field as they come under scrutiny. Various media reports had indicated that the ministry had proposed an alternative method of legalizing betting, instead of simply banning it altogether.

Many fear that legalizing betting would only increase corruption in various games like Cricket. Two days ago, the Sports Ministry, headed by Jitendra Singh, had got a draft anti-betting and anti-manipulation law from the Law Ministry. According to sources, the Sports Ministry was unhappy about the law for various reasons, including that it would not be effective enough.

“A section of the Media has reported that it is in favour of a law regularising betting in the sporting events in the country. The Ministry clarifies that betting is a State Subject and cannot be part of a Central law. The Ministry has made no recommendations to regularise betting to the Law Ministry or to any other organization,” the Sports Ministry said today.

It however added that any such law should be ‘comprehensive’. India’s biggest sporting event, the Indian Premier League or IPL has come under a cloud after investigations revealed that players such as S Sreeshant were manipulating the game after taking money from bookies. The bookies were betting on the results of IPL matches, often in places like Dubai.

“The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports is in favour of a law to curb malpractices in all sports. It will send its comments on the bill drafted by the Law Ministry, and is looking forward to working with the Law Ministry and other stakeholders for the development of a comprehensive law against match & spot fixing,” it said.