Sports Law In India


India being a diverse country is also a home to a diversely unified population and a population that is fond of a number of sports. Sometimes, sports act as a medium to unite this diverse population. The work of administration, adjudication and funding of sports is in the hands of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, which is headed by a cabinet minister and managed by the National Sports Federations. Sports law is one of those fields of law that is applied in the sports, physical education and its related areas. It is a pure law as opposed to theoretical law and is concerned with how law interacts with the activity known as Sports.


Sports have always been a form of divertissement, but sports being dynamic in nature has evolved, and India is considered as one of the best places to hold as well as regulate and operate international sports events. Thus, a need was felt to regulate the laws in the field of sports and to eradicate the black spots. The United Nations, in its resolution 58/5 adopted by its General Assembly in 2003, has recognized sport as a means to promote education, health, development and peace and therefore, a state should take an interest in sport-related matters.


Per se, there are no central or state legislation to regulate sports activities in India; the Ministry, which was set up by the government and was accountable for achieving excellence in different sports aspects and events which were conducted in India and also to build a good infrastructure and atmosphere for sports. By and large, the administration of sports activities is in the hands of autonomous bodies, such as Sports Authority of India (SAI), Indian Olympic Association (IOA), Hockey India (HI) and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

These governing bodies are recipient of government’s aid and funds are also registered under the Societies Registration’s Act of 1860.

  • National Sports Policy, 1984/2001

The main objective behind enacting this was to expand the standard of sports for the reason that it was exploiting due to corruption, betting, etc. It was later realized that the Bill of the year 1984 was incomplete, and its implementation was not up to the mark, and in a bid to revise the bill the same was reinitiated in the year 2001.

The guidelines are three-fold:

  • Firstly, to earmark the areas of responsibilities which different agencies have to undertake to develop and promote sports.
  • To lay down the procedure to be followed by the autonomous bodies and federations to make the assistance and aid by the government available.
  • And also identifying the sports federation that is eligible for coverage under these set guidelines.

It was only after this policy that the lawmakers looked upon the importance of sports and therefore ‘Sports’ was included in the Constitution in the State list of the Seventh Schedule (Entry 33). The union by the provisions of this policy aims to achieve enhacements in sports on the national and global plane and collaborates with the state government and other agencies to achieve it.

Sports Law and Welfare Association of India

It is a not for profit national corporation that aims to perceive, and work for the enhancement of ethical sports law in India for promoting sports. The main task of the organization is to provide consultancy services on different matters such as Indian sports policy, sports injuries, health and safety in sports, IP issues in sports, etc. It also renders a forum for legal practitioners who represent different people, to set up rules for ethics for sports persons.

Sports Authority of India

The Sports Authority of India (SAI) is an apex National Sports body incorporated in the year 1984 by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports for broadcasting and bringing welfare in sports across diverse India as a whole. It is mapped across 9 regions namely, Bangalore, Gandhinagar, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Imphal, Guwahati, Bhopal, Lucknow and Sonepat; and two Academic institutions like Netaji Subhash National Institute of Sports (NSNIS), Patiala and Laxmibai National College of Physical Education. It also accounts for academic programs like coaching and physical education awareness programs.

  • The Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act

This Statutes was passed in the year 2007; its main objective was to render access to listeners and viewers so as to encourage and indulge a larger audience. It shall cover the sporting events that are of national importance through mandatory sharing of sports broadcasting signals with Prasar Bharati and for matters related to it. The Act provides that no content right owner or holder or television or radio broadcasting service provider can carry out a live TV broadcast of important national sporting events. For doing this, it has to share its live broadcasting signal rights simultaneously (except advertisements) with the Prasar Bharati.

Role of different Allies

Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports

  • To lay down the provisions for eligibility of National Sports Federation to get recognition
  • The conditions that have to be fulfilled by NSFs and other agencies if they wish to acquire government’s aid and support.
  • To provide assistance to the NSFs if they carry out long-term enhancement program.

National Sports Federation

The duty for the complete management, direction, supervision and regulation of the discipline and advertising, development and sponsorship of the discipline is on National Sports Federation. They are expected to discharge these obligations in congruence with the principles laid down in the Olympic Charter or the Charter of the Indian Olympic Association in compliance with Government guidelines applicable to NSFs.


For giving the essential help to NSF for the distinguishing proof, preparing, and training of sportspersons, likewise to extemporize framework, gear, and such different offices, the SAI assumes a huge job. Further SAI will likewise be in charge of discharging assets to NSFs against proposition affirmed by the Government. The arrival of assets to IOA will, in any case, keep on being made by the concerned Ministry.

The union has set up a National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) as an autonomous body. It consists of persons from government and non-government agencies, scientists as experts and also members from IOA. In the recent past, the controversy surrounding the consumption of dope by sports persons is prevalent and in this light, NADA was set up. It shall carry out ‘in competition’ and ‘out of the competition’ testing on the sportsman. NADA helps in the regulation of sports activities so that it can be corruption-free and non-controversial.


Grey areas in sports law in India

The domain of games law is new in India and over and over, there has been a top to bottom request and investigation into this. Regardless of having a few organizations and autonomous bodies in India, our nation does not have a decent games framework, and it flops in each significant occasion due to an exact and uniform law for games. Initially, there is no single body or enactment under the umbrella of which the service, and diverse games organization, principally the National Sports Federation would come.

In later past, the dim sides of the focused world has come to be realized which portrays the maladministration of the games law, for example, the Olympic Games Scandal identified with offering, the ongoing IPL trick, FIFA embarrassment and claims of rape, and so forth are few of those outrages.


In March 2018, the men’s Australian cricket team was involved in a ball-tampering scandal during and after the third Test match against South Africa in Cape Town when Cameron Bancroft was caught by television cameras trying to rough up one side of the ball to make it swing in flight.

The significant provisos which our games law confront incorporate work and business issues, medicate use, broadcasting rights, sports damage and the simultaneous risk, badgering in games, and so on. The steady disappointment of India in various games occasions means that across the board defilement and poor framework and in this way, the need of great importance ought to be to authorize an appropriate enactment and gathering to facilitate the exercises of games in India.


Thus in order to develop sports, it is important that such autonomous authorities set up by the centre and state work for the betterment and welfare. Lately, a MoA is set up by Supreme Court and BCCI to analyse and look forward to develop cricket.
Nitin Sharma
Author : Mr. Nitin Sharma –  Student of Amity Law School, Noida.


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