The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has suggested a joint meeting with the suspended Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and a representative of the Union Government in Lausanne to break the deadlock that had ensued following the IOA’s suspension last month.
The IOC had suspended the IOA following the latter’s decision to ignore its directives in going ahead with its elections, and because of government interference in the functioning of the National Olympic Committee (NOC).
In a letter on Monday, the IOC suggested that a solution could be worked out to break the impasse if the Government of India were to repeal or amend regulations that interfered with the autonomous functioning of the IOA including ‘election rules’ and the IOA could review its constitution and make amendments subject to the approval of the IOC.
Even while suggesting a way forward to resolve the issues, the IOC further hardened its stand by stating that the members of the suspended IOA (National federations) should not associate themselves with ‘illegitimate individuals’ who were claiming to represent the IOA.
In particular the IOC warned of the National federation representatives attending any of the meetings convened by the ‘illegitimate’ group and said that if federations did associate themselves with ‘these individuals’ then the IOC would ask the international federation concerned to take necessary action.
It may be recalled that the IOC had recently written to the international federations to investigate whether any of the Indian federations were being affected by government regulations or decisions of the courts and to suggest a concerted action.
The Indian Amateur Boxing Federation and the Taekwondo Federation of India are already under suspension by the international federations concerned following the IOC sanction against the IOA.
The suspended IOA has convened an Executive Board meeting here on January 19 to take up the issue of IOC suspension among other items on the agenda.
The IOC warning is clearly against this meeting, indicating that federations that may attend the meeting could be recommended for sanctions by the international federations concerned.
The IOC still recognizes the former acting president of the IOA, Vijay Kumar Malhotra, and the IOA Secretary-General, Randhir Singh, as legitimate representatives of the NOC even while stressing that the IOA is a suspended organization. The IOA had elected a new set of office-bearers headed by Abhay Singh Chautala at its elections on December 5 last.
The IOC now expects Malhotra and Randhir to take the initiative to pave the way for fresh elections without any external interference and exclusively on the basis of the Olympic Charter and the IOA constitution.
The IOA was forced to hold its elections under the sports code following a High Court directive that elections be held as per its constitution as well as the Sports Code of the Government of India.
The IOC took objection to this since the government guidelines on tenure of office-bearers were not part of the IOA constitution.
In the latest letter, signed by the IOC NOC Relations Director Pere Miro, and the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) Director-General, Husain Al-Musallam, and addressed to Malhotra and Randhir, the IOC noted that meeting its conditions would be a prerequisite for the IOC Executive Board to “consider lifting the suspension.”
The IOC EB is scheduled to meet next in Lausanne on Feb 12 and 13. The IOC’s stand makes it clear that it would deal only with Malhotra and Randhir, that it wants a resolution of the impasse, but it would stick to its demand that both IOA and the government work out a formula by which there would be no violation of the Olympic Charter.
The ministry had recently asked all federations including the IOA to go through with constitution amendments in order to fall in line with the National Sports Code.