Government to privatise stadiums

New Delhi: Union Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore on Tuesday said that the government intends to privatise some of the stadiums under the Sports Authority of India (SAI) to improve their services.

“We are keenly thinking of privatising some of our stadia to have better operations in terms of delivering sports to the sportspersons. There was a general study on how the stadia can be improved. The fact is that there is a need to improve the way stadia are administered,” the sports minister said at the launch of Excellence in Learning and Mastering of Sports and Physical Literacy (ELMS) Foundation.

“The stadia must have better quality of service and playing area. The SAI was created before 1982 Asian Games to help in conducting the Games and looking after these stadia. The mandate has increased now from that time and I think it’s time in today’s world we bring in as many stakeholders as possible.”

Rathore said that the privatisation can be modelled either through a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activity or Public Private Partnership (PPP).

“We believe that it is not just government who should be running sports. We want every stakeholder to become a partner. The sportspersons must get the best facilities,” he said.

“Our intention is to see either a CSR activity or a entirely PPP (model) happening. Be assured that the intention is there and we will make it happen.”

Rathore said the ministry was spending a total of Rs 60 crore for the Khelo India National School Games, which begin on January 31.

“Khelo India project will create sports infrastructure. It will be for the first time that the National School Games of U-17 level will be broadcast live from January 31. We are spending nearly Rs 60 crore on bringing the Games to a level that is aspirational and memorable. We are covering 16 sports, including team sports and indigenous sports and priority sports.

“We will increase the number of sports every year. We will be selecting 1000 athletes every year and that selection will be done by Arjuna and Dronacharya Awardees. We have put aside Rs 250 crore as the first sponsorship amount.”

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