The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has sought an amicable solution to its suspension by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) by requesting the Union Sports Ministry to stop imposing the Sports Code.
In a letter to Union Sports Minister Jitender Singh, the acting president of the IOA, Prof. Vijay Kumar Malhotra, stressed the importance of the IOA and the Sports Ministry being on the same wavelength to ensure a fruitful meeting with the IOC officials in Lausanne. In an attempt to resolve the suspension — caused by the implementation of the Sports Bill in the IOA election as ordered by the Delhi High Court — the IOC had suggested that a delegation, comprising members of the suspended IOA and the Union Sports Ministry, discuss the matter at its headquarters in Switzerland.
Prof. Malhotra pointed out that the formation of a panel to re-draft the Sports Bill, first notified in January 2012 by the Sports Ministry, had only aggravated the situation. He reiterated that the autonomy of the IOA and the National Sports Federations had to be preserved as required by the Olympic Charter, for India to stay in the Olympic movement.
Prof. Malhotra accused the government of forming a panel with known IOA-baiters, and thus the committee was highly biased. “It would act in a totally prejudicial manner to the interest of sports and the Olympic movement in the country. This contradictory stand of the government defeats all logic,” he remarked.
Though the Sports Bill may be deemed as a different version of the Olympic Charter itself, in terms of the principles of good governance, etc., the IOC has been categorical that nothing should be imposed, and that the parties concerned could reach an understanding on the subject with mutual consent.
“It is in the best interest of the country that your position is clarified to all before we proceed to Lausanne on the invitation by IOC. You will appreciate that unless there is unanimity between us, a visit to Lausanne will be futile,” said Prof. Malhotra, in the letter.
Prof. Malhotra stressed that he would form a delegation to visit the IOC headquarters, only after a positive response from the Sports Ministry.
It may be recalled that the IOC had wanted a meeting before the end of March, and later it had suggested a few dates in April.