A mid revelations that athletes representing the Tamil Nadu have never received any funds allotted for them by the state government, athletes and coaches demanded that the government form a Sports Development Code for Tamil Nadu – like the National Sports Development Code – to control the activities of the various sports associations.
Veteran sportspersons said that to ensure better administration of sports associations, they should be headed by those who have a background in sports and not those who are only influential. “Sports associations in the state are dominated by politicians and powerful bureaucrats, who do not have any link with sports. They should be removed from these associations,” said Balu, an athlete and a retired Southern Railways Employee.
According to insiders, neither the State Sports Department not the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT) have any control over the sports associations. Also, there is no monitoring mechanism to ensure transparency in these organisations. Due to this lack of monitoring, many sports associations have mushroomed in the recent years, a fact that is acknowledged even by the Sports Department officials.
“Government do not have control over sports bodies, and this has its advantages and disadvantages. There is no clear direction for the department to interfere in the affairs of the sports associations in Tamil Nadu,” Dheeraj Kumar, secretary, State Youth Welfare and Sports Department, said.
The only connection that SDAT has with the sports associations was the disbursal of funds for sports meets, he added. “The associations submit the expenses account after every event and amount is disbursed based on the expenses incurred. Apart from that, there is no connection with the sports associations,” Dheeraj Kumar added.
But, with Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami announcing three per cent reservation for them in government jobs, sportspersons warn that there were high chances of corruption to land a government job. This was an area where careful monitoring was required, they cautioned.
“In the past, there were instances of forms ‘A’ and ‘B’ for college admission being sold to children of higher officials. Now, the government has announced reservation for sportspersons in jobs, which will lead to more number of sports certificates being sold to those other than sportspersons. The government should monitor it carefully and the selected process should be tightened,” added Balu.
Department secretary Dheeraj Kumar, too, acknowledged the possibility of corruption, but said once the scheme was in place, they would start monitoring the certificate issuing process more strictly so as to ensure that only deserving candidates who have won medals in national championships were given the certificates.
Annual state budget allocation for Sports deptartment
Year Amount (in crores)
Centres for excellence for sports (athletics)
- Jawaharlal Nehru stadium
- Nehru indoor stadium
Schemes and infrastructure
- World Beaters Talent Spotting Scheme
- Scholarship for Budding Talent Scheme
- Sports hostels for athletics at Neyveli, Tiruchy, Madurai, Tirunelveli, Erode, Namakkal, Tiruvannamalai, Krishnagiri, Coimbatore, Cuddalore, Dindigul, Thanjavur, Nagercoil, Sivaganga, Perambalur, Nilgris, Pudukottai
- Specialised sports academies (athletics) at Madurai, Ramanathapuram, Tiruvannamalai
- Sports hostels of excellence for men and women
- Village Sports Nursery scheme for athletics in Namakkal, Madurai and Virudhunagar districts
- Champion Development Scheme under which Rs 2 lakh per year is allotted to an athlete
- Talent Hunting Camps in which Rs 81.20 lakhs was allotted for 620 athletes
- Special scholarship for elite sportspersons- 11 elite sportspersons and cost spent is Rs 382.97 lakh
- Special scholarship for budding talents- Rs 6,000 per head for a year per sportsperson
- High cash incentive scheme in which high cash price is given to athletes for bagging medals in international events such as Olympics, Asian games and Commonwealth Games
- SDAT spots scholarship scheme for school and college students. Rs 10,000 for a school and Rs 13,000 for a college student is given under the scheme