NEW DELHI, Jan 20 (PTI): New Sports Minister Ajay Maken finds merit in his predecessor�s controversial age and tenure limiting guidelines but said they can only be implemented by taking a non-confrontational approach towards the National Sports Federations.
Former Sports Minister MS Gill had issued guidelines that heads of NSFs cannot remain in office for more than two consecutive terms and nobody can be elected to office if he is above 70 years of age.
The guidelines had snowballed into a bitter stand-off between Indian Olympic Association and the Ministry with International Olympic Council pitching in favour of the IOA and issuing threats of ban on India if the autonomy of NSFs were infringed. Maken said he will have a dialogue with the NSFs and convince them them that the guidelines were for the benefit of Indian sports.
�The age and tenure limiting guidelines issued by Mr Gill has merit. But we cannot implement those guidelines by taking a confrontational approach with the NSFs. We will have a dialogue with the NSFs and see to it that they themselves want to have them,� Maken told a press conference shortly after taking over as Sports Minister.
�The NSFs may delay in implementing the guidelines and they may have a staggered time frame to implement them. We are all right with it. I want to follow a non-confrontational approach and will have a dialogue with the NSFs, tell them that these are for the benefit for sports in the country. Nothing is impossible,� he said.
Asked about the threat issued by the IOC on a possible ban on India, Maken said, �We will speak to the IOC. If we have a confrontational approach we cannot move ahead.� Maken said he would want to see more young people who have themselves played a sport at a certain level to manage the NSFs.
�There should be more young people in the management of the various sports. I see the athletes as the most important part. How would a person who has not played at a certain level manage the sport with the same passion as the athletes have? That is beyond my understanding,� Maken said.
�Those who manage NSFs should have played at a certain level. It is difficult to specify that level but ideally the NSFs should be run by those who have played the game. But as I said I want to do all these with a non-confrontational approach,� he said.
Asked if the minister should also be someone who have played some sport, Maken said, �I entirely agree that I have not played a sport at a certain level. But these (measures) are for the benefit of the country.
�Who knows in future a sports minister may have to be a sportsperson himself. I am all for it,� he quipped. Maken said his focus will be for India to get maximum medals in the 2012 London Olympics and a blueprint will be prepared soon for that.
�We have done exceedingly well in the Commonwealth and Asian Games. The medal hauls by the athletes have been historic. But we should not remain happy with that now. We won three medals in 2008 Olympics and we should now aim for maximum medals in 2012 Olympics which is our target now,� he said. �I have told the sports secretary to prepare a blueprint as to how the maximum athletes