Mary Kom and Sushil Kumar have resigned. But is there a conflict of interest in active sportspersons being observers?
There’s no question about it. Sportspersons can’t be observers in their own sport when they are active. It is ideal to have these legends as observers, but only once they retire from the game.
People thought that Mary Kom and Sushil Kumar have retired, and thus the position was granted. Now that they’ve again come back to the arena once again, ideally, they should have resigned on their own.
Historically, government observers are people who have had absolutely no impact in the elections or in the issues they observe. They’ve never given any reports on the basis of which good things have actually come out.
Here are other sharp perspectives on sport observers:
Observers are, in fact, people who are the ‘moral conscience’. They are the people on whom the government relies on to ensure that guidelines and sports codes are being adhered to by the federations and various authorities.
There will be very few instances (I won’t be surprised if there are none) on the basis of whose reports actual actions have been taken.
It is a good principle to have people who have reached the highest level at an international platform to be the observer. But with active athletes, this could lead to a situation of conflict of interest.
You need a person with high integrity and spine. The suggestions for these names should come from the fraternity itself and people who understand the domain.
Sure, if Mary Kom and Sushil Kumar want, they can continue. There’s no law, no rule stopping them, saying they can’t hold such positions if active. Until recently, even the BCCI didn’t have it. Only after Supreme Court’s intervention, they came out with a proper code on conflict of interest.
Rahul Mehra is a sports lawyer and activist.