Nairobi — Parliament has ended Kenya's 10 year wait for a national sports legislation after it passed the Sports Bill with amendments. The Bill now awaits President's Kibaki signature to make it law.
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 without fulfilling their promise to have Parliament adopt the crucial legislation.
The Bill will harness sports for development, encourage and promote sports and recreation; provide for the establishment of sports institutions, facilities, administration and management of sports in the country.
According to the Bill, the Cabinet Secretary responsible for sports matters shall make regulations for the better management of anti-doping activities and such regulations may prescribe penalties for contravention.
Sports federations comprising various disciplines across the country have vehemently opposed the Sports Bill saying it does not recognise umbrella bodies.
The document which provides for the establishment of Sports Kenya (sports authority), a National Sports Fund, Academy of Sports and a Tribunal to carter for arbitration of sports disputes has faced resistance from various stakeholders.
During the committee stage, the House unanimously backed Sports Minister Ababu Namwamba's bid to change the name of the Kenya Sports Development Authority to Sports Kenya, which is expected oversee functions such as the promotion of sports, the establishment, management and maintenance of sports stadia and other sports facilities.
The law will also address significant issues among them setting up a trust fund for development through a National Sports Lottery as well the regulation of sports federations and associations.
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.
Parliament also provided that whenever the office of a trustee becomes vacant before the expiry of the trustee's term of office, the Cabinet Secretary responsible for sports shall, on the recommendation of the nominating body, appoint a person similarly qualified to fill the vacant position for the remainder of the term.
Parliament also approved an amendment that will allow the Board of Trustees to invest any surplus funds held in the account in securities approved by the Cabinet Secretary for the time being responsible for matters relating to finance.
The Board of Trustees may also place on deposit with such bank or banks as it may determine any monies held in the account that are not immediately required for the purposes of the administration of the Fund.
Parliament also created a reserve account of the Fund into which shall be deposited any special contribution paid into the Fund by the Government for the purpose of facilitating sports persons and any income of the Fund that the Board of Trustee determines should be set aside to support national sports organizations subject to a maximum of ten per cent of such income.
The amendment proposed by Sports Minister provides that no money shall be drawn out of the reserve account without the authority of the board.
The tribunal will hear and determine disputes related to sports, federations as well as appeals from rulings of the Registrar of Sports Organisations, 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 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 the federations.