With the face-off between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) set to reach a climax within a few days, Randhir Singh, IOC member and one of the candidates for the president’s post in the elections, withdrew his nomination on Sunday.
The withdrawal of Randhir, Secretary-General of the IOA, followed by that of Raj Chopra, former treasurer of the IOA, left Abhay Singh Chautala, former president of the Indian Boxing Federation, as the lone candidate in the field for president in the December 5 elections.
Randhir said that being a member of the IOC, and Secretary-General of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), it was improper for him to continue to be in the fray since these organisations had issued a warning to the IOA that it faced suspension in case it did not stick to its constitution and the Olympic Charter in the elections.
He warned of the IOC taking action in case the elections were held under the sports code, suggesting that the IOC had not issued a hollow threat.
The IOC has sought a reply from the IOA by November 30, providing written guarantees that the elections would be held as per its directive, failing which it said it would be taking up the IOA’s suspension at its Executive Board meeting in Lausanne on December 4 and 5.
Randhir said that there could have been a dialogue among the representatives of the IOC, government and the IOA as suggested by the Union Sports Ministry to resolve the issues before holding the elections.
Randhir’s withdrawal had been widely forecast by the opposing camp even before the IOC letter, signed by its president, Jacques Rogge, had arrived. Once the IOC position became stiffer, it was certain that he would find it difficult to continue.
His pull-out may lead to further withdrawals from others supporting his candidature. K. Murugan, a candidate for the post of secretary-general, was having second thoughts on Sunday on his continuance in the election process, especially considering the fact that he had exceeded the age limit of 70 prescribed under the sports code.
Meanwhile, former Indian Hockey Federation president R.K. Shetty’s nomination for vice-president was rejected since he was not part of the ‘electoral college’ announced by the Returning Officer.