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Timeout: An Analysis Of The Basketball Federation Of India And Its Ongoing Turmoil.

*Written by Daksh Gautam


In India, Basketball is a sport with an increasing audience and popularity, with a multiple-club league system as well as dedicated men’s and women’s National teams. Indian Basketball has made major improvements, most notably in 2015 by winning the South Asian Basketball Association Championship (SABA), making them one of the emerging teams of the Asian Continent. [1]

The Basketball Federation of India also known as the IBF is the official governing body of basketball in India, it follows FIBA rules for organising basketball championships and is affiliated to FIBA Asia and Indian Olympics Association. Basketball in India is viewed as a budding project, however, the developments of the sport came to a halt when The Delhi High Court appointed administrator, Justice P Krishna Bhatt to take control of the Federation and overlook the election process for the 2023-2027 term.[2]

Legal Proceedings

On 2nd May, The Delhi High Court appointed Justice P Krishna Bhatt as the administrator to overlook the federation and ensure the smooth and immediate conduction of the election for the 2023-2027 term and maintain control until a new elected body takes charge of the BFI. After the first petition filed by Pondicherry Basketball Association, 20 other members of the electoral joined to express their concern regarding the manner, in which the elections were being conducted by the Returning Officer, which led to the appointment of the administrator (Krishna Bhatt) by Justice Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav. This decision was an outcome of the petition filed by the 20 members. [3]

In the 77-page document, the court noted that 27 members of the electoral college opposed the way the elections were conducted. It was also revealed, that 15 out of 30 nomination forms were rejected and out of the remaining, 5 withdrew which led to the automatic appointment of the office bearers. Justice Kaurav observed that the returning officer had rejected the nomination forms of the candidates on “flimsy” reasons. In the court order, it was mentioned that the election process would restart at the submission of nomination forms and the candidates that were rejected before, were now valid and allowed to contest. The order even gave authority to The Administrator to choose a new RO (returning officer) or allow the existing RO to continue

The conflict however did not resolve as the administrator appointed by the high court, Justice P Krishna Bhatt was denied entry into the office of the BFI, by the existing office bearers. On June 1st Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora directed the respondents to file their response to the petition filed by Justice P Krishna Bhatt. Filed by advocate Aman Hingorani, the petition stated that after the May 2nd order of the High Court, the administrator (Justice Bhatt) requested the office bearers to submit before him the financial records, Bank statements and detailed and audited accounts of transactions along with other official documents. However, they to this date have not submitted office records, documents, cheques and passbooks along with denying the administrator entry into the BFI office, noted the petition. This has led to the BFI not being able to provide certificates to athletes, which has hindered their careers and caused a disruption in the functioning of the BFI.

On the basis of this petition, the Court ordered the respondents to cooperate as per the orders of the administrator and issued a contempt of court plea against them. [5]

Issues With Governing Bodies In Sports

Sports are a large part of our country, with India participating in the Olympics in every edition and also having dedicated leagues for some sports such as The IPL, ISL, Pro Kabbadi League but except their Cricketing counterparts athletes as well as the general public believes that sports in the Nation hasn’t made that leap despite having a dedicated budget and Athletes preparing all year long for major tournaments.

1) Politicization of sport

Politics in sports has existed as long as the existence of politics and sports. In India, politicians and businessmen who are people of power arse seen involved at the top level in administration in sporting bodies, these people have no expertise in sports and this has led to increased funding from the government but a lack of success at an international level. Major examples of the phenomenon are Narendra Modi taking charge of The Gujarat Cricket Association, to end the domination of Congress members in the post. This raises the question of decisions being made which are best for the politician or political party rather than for the advancement of the sport.[6]

2) Unclear Rights and Responsibilities

In Indian sports authorities, there is a clear lack of roles and responsibilities as bodies have not been able to differentiate between governance and management. Executive committees that are meant to take part in governance often take part In management which creates a lack of checks and balances as they are allowed to operate without oversight.[7]

3) Lack of Accountability and Transparency

This issue is quite common in sports authorities with many cases of corruption and non-compliance with the sports code have been attempted to be settled at a management level rather than revealing the truth in order to maintain transparency. Major examples of this include AIFF and their potential ban from FIFA and BCCI and instances of corruption and match-fixing in the IPL in 2014 by Ex-president Srinivasan.


In conclusion, the state of basketball in India reflects both progress and challenges. The sport has experienced increasing popularity and success, with the emergence of multiple club leagues and dedicated national teams. However, the recent court case involving the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) has highlighted some underlying issues within the governance of Indian sports. The appointment of an administrator by the Delhi High Court indicates concerns over the transparency and fairness of the election process for the BFI's leadership

These problems within the BFI reflect broader challenges faced by governing bodies in Indian sports. The politicization of sports administration, with influential politicians and business figures holding positions of power, often leads to decisions that prioritize personal or political interests rather than the development of the sport. The lack of accountability and transparency within Indian sports authorities is another significant concern. Instances of corruption and non-compliance with sports codes and laws have surfaced, often being dealt with at the management level rather than being fully addressed and revealed to maintain transparency. To further the progress of Indian basketball and sports in general, it is crucial to address these systemic issues. Reforms should focus on depoliticizing sports administration, ensuring clear roles and responsibilities, and establishing robust accountability and transparency mechanisms. By doing so, Indian sports can foster an environment that nurtures talent and upholds fair competition.

*The author is a journalism scholar from Mumbai University,

(The image used here is for representative purposes only)



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