'Sports Fraud Bill to be tabled in ongoing Parliament session'

New Delhi: The IPL spot-fixing and betting scandal prompted the government to push for introduction of Sports Fraud Bill in the Parliament in the ongoing monsoon session, Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said yesterday.

Sonowal said the Sports Fraud Bill will be sent to the Cabinet in a few days for approval before it is presented in the Parliament. "It (the Bill) will be presented to the Cabinet in a few days. There is some small work to be done at the Sports Ministry. It has got Law Ministry's clearance," he told reporters on the sidelines of the Asia Region -- Commonwealth Youth Ministers Conference here.

"We wanted all these match-fixing things to be addressed and that is why this Bill is coming up. We have examined the Bill carefully to make sports corruption free. It is upto the honourable MPs to decide on this Bill. I hope all the MPs support this Bill so that it can be passed with consensus."

Asked about his statement in the Parliament that BCCI was not a Sports Federation recognised by the government, he said, "The Honourable Supreme Court has said that the BCCI is a public body, so the BCCI is accountable to the public."

On being prodded whether the BCCI should come under the Right to Information Act, he said, "All I am saying is that the BCCI should be accountable to the public and its functioning transparent."

Sonowal said sports should be corruption free and transparent and sports bodies should be accountable to the public to maintain credibility. "Sports should be corruption free and transparent so that fans and sportslovers have faith in sports.

The sports bodies should function transparently and they should be accountable to the public," Sonowal said. Sonowal refused to commit when asked if sprinter Dutee Chand, who recently got a favourable decision from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), should be included in the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOP).

"Dutee is a priority athlete for us. We had supported her in here appeal at the CAS in Lausanne by bearing the whole of the legal cost and we will continue to do so," he said. "But, I don't interfere in the selection of who should be included the the TOP Scheme or not.

There is a committee made up of eminent sportspersons which selects athletes to be included in the Scheme," he added. Dutee had challenged the IAAF's hyperandrogenism policy which bars female athletes whose bodies produce natural levels of testosterone above permissible range to compete among women. She was disqualified last year by the AFI as per IAAF's hyperandrogenism policy after tests revealed that she has this condition of hyperandrogenism.

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