The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the Union Sports Ministry have resolved to work together in order to develop and implement the principles of good governance within the Olympic Movement in India.

The ‘peace treaty' was formalised at a meeting at the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne on June 18 in which the representatives from the IOA, ministry and the IOC attended.

The official version put out by the IOC on its website talks of a meeting held to “review the situation of the Olympic and sports movement in India”, but the five and a half-hour long meeting focused on the revised Union Government guidelines, the IOA's stand of rejecting the entire set of guidelines, and the IOC's threat of imposing sanctions on India if the autonomy of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) was threatened.

Engage in dialogue

The Joint Secretary (Sports), in the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Injeti Srinivas, who attended the meeting, told The Hindu on Tuesday that the IOC while accepting the Government's contention that there should be critical minimum standards for good governance wanted the ministry to engage the NOC in a dialogue to resolve any issue.

Mr. Srinivas, who said the meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere, however confirmed that there was no withdrawal of the guidelines possible at this stage since the matter was sub judice. “We will wait for the court orders,” he added.

The Delhi High Court is hearing a public interest litigation filed by a lawyer about the functioning of the IOA and the National Sports Federations (NSFs).

The Government may a take a decision on possible legislation once the court matter gets over.

The contentious tenure clause in the guidelines were restored by the Government on May 2 last, leading to protests from the IOA and the NSFs.

The IOC release stated that all pending issues were discussed and settled. All parties agreed to work together with mutual respect and understanding in order to develop and implement the principles of good governance in Olympic Movement in India.

Respect autonomy

It also stated that government authorities must respect the autonomy of the Olympic and sports movement in accordance with the Olympic Charter.

According to Srinivas, the IOC officials accepted the right of a sovereign country to regulate.

He told the meeting that court judgements and orders were binding on the Government.

The ministry, also represented by its Under Secretary Shankar Lal, pointed out that India had always respected the Olympic Charter.

The ministry gave a report card on 32 NSFs, rating them with a colour code on compliance of regulations aimed at good governance.

It was noted that barring a few no federation had responded to the anti-doping rules circulated by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA).

It also pointed out that the IOA was not in compliance with the Olympic Charter in several respects. (As is well known, the IOA is not in compliance with the provision in the Charter that calls for representation to Olympians in the decision-making bodies of an NOC.)

The meeting was attended by IOA Secretary-General Randhir Singh, IOA officials R. K. Anand and Mohammed Aslam Khan, apart from Srinivas and Lal.

On the IOC side, the NOC Relations Director Pere Miro and the IOC Chief of Staff, Christophe De Kepper, were present.

Keywords: Sports Ministry

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