The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Wednesday that it was going ahead with the proposal to suspend the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) because of the latter’s failure to adhere to the stipulations laid down by the IOC in conducting its elections scheduled for December 5.
The suspension proposal is to be placed before the IOC Executive Board meeting in Lausanne on December 4 and 5.
The IOC’s latest letter to the IOA comes as a clear move to pre-empt a reply from the IOA that had been sought from it in a letter written by the IOC on November 23.
The IOA was given time till November 30 to reply but the fresh move, obviously to put further pressure on the Indian body to cancel the elections, is self-contradictory.
The letter concludes by saying: “As mentioned in the IOC/OCA letter of November 23, the IOA is invited to provide all necessary explanations and to present its position in writing to the IOC no later than November 30, 2012.”
Coping with threats
An embattled IOA, headed by its acting president, Vijay Kumar Malhotra, but minus its secretary-general Randhir Singh, has been trying to cope with the threats coming in quick succession from the IOC headquarters for over a week.
Malhotra said on Wednesday that a reply was being prepared, while those in the election fray were keen that the elections should be conducted as scheduled.
The IOA would be making an effort to meet the Sports Minister on Thursday to try to find a way out if that could be possible. The Government had earlier suggested that the elections could be postponed and the IOC representatives invited here to sort out matters.
Taking the November 26 letter of Malhotra as the IOA’s reply to the warning issued by the IOC, the latest IOC letter, signed by its Director-General Christophe de Kepper, has stated that the IOA had not provided guarantees that were demanded.
Malhotra’s letter, in fact, invited an IOC/OCA delegation to come to India, the IOC noted, “while you continue to move ahead with an election process.” The observers from the IOC and the OCA (Olympic Council of Asia) would not be coming now for the elections.
The IOC letter noted that the matter of government guidelines, especially over tenure of office-bearers, had remained unresolved through the past two years. And there seemed to have been little progress in recent days to rectify the situation in order to hold the elections “in line with the Olympic Charter and the IOA constitution.”
On the face of it, nothing seems to have been violated in the IOA constitution or the Olympic Charter during the election process so far except a note by the Returning Officer when the elections were notified that the provisions in the Sports Code of the Government of India would be applied.
Till Wednesday no aspiring candidate had been disqualified because of the Sports Code either. The one person who could have come under the eligibility rule of the code because of age restriction (70 years), K. Murugan, withdrew his nomination for secretary-general on Wednesday.
One of the contestants in the election fray, Harish Kumar of the Taekwondo Federation, said that Randhir Singh, IOC member in India, was very much part of the IOA Special General meeting held on October 18 last which took the decision to hold the elections on November 25 (now postponed to December 5), he had issued the election notice and he knew of the court order of September 13.
“He should have guided us that the IOC would not allow elections to be held under the court order,” said Kumar.