Ministry asks SAI to improve infrastructure, assess coaches


Appalled by the state of infrastructure and coaching at some of the SAI centres, Sports Minister Vijay Goel says he has sought an assessment report of the facilities as well as the coaches employed there.

Vijay GoelGoel said he recently visited the Sport Authority of India (SAI) centre at Raipur and was shocked to see that the local Municipal Corporation rents out the facility for social functions.

“The SAI centre in Raipur was inside a stadium of the state government. The municipal corporation provides the place for marriages and earns rent from it. It was in poor shape,” Goel said in an interaction with PTI journalists.

“The coaches are there but they do not have enough students. If they have only 11 players for football, they can’t even have two teams. I told them it won’t work like this.

“We want to assess the coaches’ performance. Their appraisal will also be done to see how many of them use modern technology, how is their own fitness. I have visited SAI stadiums and told them to prepare coaches’ appraisal,” he added.

Goel said like in Manipur, his ministry is exploring the possibility of creating a sports university in Gwalior.

“In the last nine months, there is no institution or department that I have not visited, whether it is Patiala or Gwalior or SAI centres, or Gopichand Academy. Gwalior has good infrastructure which can be used to create a sports university,” he said.

Speaking about other issues, the minister ruled out coming out with a legislation which will make doping a criminal offence. India had featured in top-3 for the third successive year in a report published by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for 2015.

A total of 117 athletes from the country were punished after testing positive for banned substances. India followed Russia (176) and Italy (129), the same position as in the reports of 2013 and 2014.

“We check everything here. Other countries such as Russia have gone far ahead. Legislation is to create fear. But there is already a strong message out there. If an athlete loses respect (due to doping) that is also a punishment. I don’t feel we need such a legislation. Our system (to catch offenders) is strong,” he said.

Goel also hinted that government does not have any plans to bring BCCI into the RTI net. Except the cricket board, all other NSFs are covered under RTI.

“Let the Supreme Court deal with them first. We will see later,” was his reply.

Recently it was reported that the government has demanded that a few India matches during the upcoming FIFA Under-17 World Cup are alloted to the national capital.

Goel, said there was nothing wrong with such a request.

“Yes we demanded that matches should be in Delhi, if it (schedule) is still not finalised then why not.”

On the issue of popular sentiment that hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand should be given ‘Bharat Ratna’, Goel hinted the such a move was not on government’s agenda as of now.

“My personal view is that he is already Bharat Ratna. If 15 people have got it and 40 others have not, it does not mean people who have not got it are lesser contributors,” he said.


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