The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has insisted that the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) must fully accept its draft amendments, including the one barring those charge-sheeted from contesting elections.

The IOC Executive Board, which met in Buenos Aires on Wednesday, made it clear that the suspended IOA had to adopt all recommendations to ensure good governance.

“The EB heard a report that the General Assembly [on August 25] had approved most of the amendments to the IOA’s constitution requested by the IOC, but one specific clause had not been adopted. This clause, which deals with the eligibility of members, is key to the good governance of the NOC [National Olympic Committee] and needs to be fully accepted before the suspended IOA can proceed with the elections,” said a statement.

If the suspension continues, then, depending on any concession granted by the IOC, India may be able to participate in the Olympic Games under the IOC flag but cannot use the National Flag or the National Anthem.

But according to an IOA proposal, the sanction will apply only to those officials who are convicted and sentenced to a jail term of more than two years.

The IOA was suspended in December 2012 because its elections were not held as per the IOA constitution and the Olympic Charter.

Sports Minister Jitendra Singh said the IOC’s decision was expected. “One of the major issues is ethics and good governance. So, I hope better sense prevails and the IOA incorporates changes which the IOC has been suggesting.”

Whatever the problems, Indian sportspersons must be protected, Mr. Singh said. “Some sort of alternative arrangement should be there to see that Indian sportspersons do not suffer and they are able to compete under the Indian flag.”

The IOA had been objecting to the amendment on the ground that the law of the land allowed politicians facing various charges to contest elections. The IOA adopted a diluted version of the clause at its August 25 meeting.

Reacting to the IOC’s decision, IOA acting president V.K. Malhotra said: “I am also of the opinion that people facing criminal and corruption charges should not contest elections. If it [the clause] is for all countries, naturally, we will have to follow it.”

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