Sports Bill finally sees light of Parliament

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NAIROBI, Kenya, September 5- The much hyped Sports Bill finally made its way to Parliament on Wednesday for debate after a 10-year wait.

The Bill which was approved by Cabinet and published in July was called for First Reading during the afternoon sitting which is usually a formality where the short title of the Bill read is out.

“A Bill for an Act of Parliament to harness sports for development, encourage and promote sports and recreation; to provide for the establishment of sports institutions, facilities, administration and management of sports in the country, and for connected purposes.”

The Bill was first drafted in 2002 by key sports stakeholders in a bid to re-organise sports management in the country but several Sports ministers have come and gone all without fulfilling their promise to have Parliament adopt the crucial document.

Sports federations comprising of various disciplines across the country have vehemently opposed the Sports Bill saying it does not recognize umbrella bodies.

The document provides for the establishment of a Kenya Sports Development Authority, a National Sports Fund, Sports Institute and a Tribunal to carter for arbitration of sports disputes has faced resistance from various stakeholders.

The Authority which will be headed by a Director-General will oversee functions such as the promotion of sports, the establishment, management and maintenance of sports stadia and other sports facilities.

The main objective of the fund which shall vest in and be administered by a Board of Trustees is to provide financial support to sportspersons and organisations.

On the other hand, the tribunal will hear and determine disputes related to sports, federations as well as appeals from rulings of the Registrar of Sports Organizations, the appointment of members of the body and power to make rules governing it.

The Bill will also address significant issues among them setting up a trust fund for development through a National Sports Lottery as well as the regulation of federations and associations.

Once approved, the proposed law will allow for the establishment of a National Sports Institute which will be instrumental in developing sportsmen and women and also training coaches.

Other roles of the institution include establishment, management and maintenance of training academies and the co-ordination of the training and research relating to sports.

The Sports Bill will also address significant issues among them setting up a trust fund for development through a National Sports Lottery as well a the regulation of sports federations and associations.

Part Four of the proposed legislation contains financial provisions. It provides for the sources of funds of the sports institutions established, the preparation of a Sports Investment Programme by the Cabinet Secretary, in consultation with the fund’s board of Trustees, the annual estimates of the sports institutions and the audit of the accounts of the sports institutions in accordance with the Public Audit Act, 2003.

Part Five of the law provides for the registration and regulation of sports organizations, the licensing of professional sports and professional sportsperson.

It also provides for the appointment of a Registrar who will undertake registration, regulation and oversight of federations.

– By Laban Wanambisi

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