Appeal to Sports Ministry – Sports Code 2011

Appeal to Sports Ministry – Sports Code 2011
November 4, 2020

03 November 2020


To: Shri Kiren Rijiju,
Honourable Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports,
New Delhi.

All India Chess Federation – Adherence to National Sports Development Code 2011

Respected Sir,

We are appreciative of the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports’ (MYAS) efforts to involve sportspersons in the administration of their respective sports, thus underlying the importance of professional assistance and responsibility in administration of the sports. At the outset, we wish to place on record our sincere gratitude towards the same.

We note that the National Sports Development Code 2011 formulated by the ministry contains the following clauses emphasising the above (with our emphases):

Principal document Clause 8.Recognition of National Sports Federations:

8.3: NSFs seeking recognition will have to apply as per Guidelines given at Annexure-II. While considering the proposals for recognition, the Ministry, inter alia, will be guided by the following:

xi: Protection and promotion of players‘ interests and welfare

Annexure II: 8.Recognition of National Sports Federations:

3.2: The Federation should have an exhaustive written Constitution in unambiguous terms providing for its efficient functioning, in particular, election of office bearers, truly representative character of the General Body, protection of the interest of players, promotion of the Game, maintenance and audit of accounts, moving of no confidence resolutions etc.”

3.20: Inclusion of prominent sportspersons of outstanding merit as members of the respective sports federations on a tenure basis. The strength of such prominent sportspersons with voting rights should be a certain minimum percentage (say 25%) of the total members representing the federation and selection of such sportspersons should be in consultation with this Department.”

We wish to bring to your notice the following clauses from the constitution of the All India Chess Federation (AICF) (with our emphases):

24. Expulsion/Suspension:

(a) If an Office Bearer, affiliated unit or its Office Bearers or a player or an individual directly or indirectly connected with the Federation refuses to comply with the provisions of this Constitution, Rules and Regulations or is guilty of such conduct which in the opinion of the central Council is likely to affect the character or stability or interest of the Federation, such person or affiliated Unit or its Office Bearers shall be liable for expulsion or suspension for such periods as the Central Council may fix by a Resolution adopted by not less than two-thirds of the Members of the Council present at such Meeting. The Secretary shall cause Notice to the Organisation/Individual calling for their explanation and they shall be placed for the consideration of the Central Council. Any refusal to accept the Notice by the party shall be treated as Notice having been served.”

(c) Suo Moto action: Under extra-ordinary circumstances, where a disciplinary action is necessary to protect the objects of the constitution and Bye laws of AICF, the Hon. Secretary/Central Council shall Suo Moto take action [the action attracting Section 24(a)], against any player, official, Academy etc., to suspend from all chess activities, debar, impose penalties etc., with the reasons being put in writing. However, the matter shall be placed in the next Central Council/AGM for a final decision.”

Annexure: Clause II. Code of conduct for the players:

(c) Players shall desist from indulging in any act detrimental to the interests of Federation nor shall they spearhead any movement against the Federation. They shall not also pass any derogatory remarks in public or to the press about the Federation.”

(w) Any other act which is against the aim and objects of the Federation and detrimental to its interests.”

(y) Players shall strictly abide by the Constitution, Rules Regulations and Orders/Instructions of the Federations in force from time to time and also abide by the instructions of the Arbiters and AICF Office Bearers.”

1. The above clauses of the AICF constitution are against the tenets of our Indian Constitution as well Civil Code of Law, and expose the general attitude of the body towards chess players, which is draconian, authoritative and open to any kind of punitive action by power and intimidation. The desire of the AICF to browbeat players into complete submission to their authority and curb voices of right and healthy criticism, is against the letter and spirt of the Sports Code and players welfare outlined in Annexure clause 3.2. Furthermore, chess players who are dependant on the game for their livelihood do not stand any chance to legally face such actions of the AICF, the very reason the body promulgates such harsh clauses. We pray for your action to alter the above constitution and attitude of the AICF so as to safeguard the welfare and basic rights of freedom and voice of chess players, the most important and basic constituents of the game itself in the country.

2. We wish to bring to your attention that the AICF has not given representation for players in administration of the game even nearly a decade after the proclamation of the Sports Code by MYAS. This is in violation of the above Annexure clause 3.20, specifying the body to include prominent chess players in its Management Committee with a minimum of 25% representation, with rights to vote in the decisions of administration.

3. Elections for the administrative posts of the AICF were conducted in Feb 2020, but were cancelled by the courts and fresh elections are yet to be held. Currently, the election process is being legally contested between two factions of the body fighting for power. We request your good offices to kindly ensure that the current election process will adhere to the Sports Code 2011 as formulated by the MYAS, and declare the process as invalid unless the same is implemented.

Yours sincerely,

Varugeese Koshy, International Master
President, Chess Players Forum of India

cc: Sports Secretary, Government of India
cc: Director General, Sports Authority of India