Will help to draft sports bill; Indian representatives reach an agreement with IOC officials

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will soon lift the ban on the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) as Indian representatives from the government and sports bodies reached an agreement with IOC officials at a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Wednesday. IOC and IOA representatives framed a roadmap for India’s return to the Olympics fold, after the Union Sports Minister Jitendra Singh convinced the IOC that the Sports Bill — initially seen by the IOC as a sign of government interference — is necessary for good governance of Indian sports.

The recent suspension of India from the Olympic movement was widely held by many sports lovers across the country as a serious setback. Leading sportspersons, such as Olympic shooting champion Abhinav Bindra who represented athletes in the IOC meeting, felt that the developments in Lausanne would pave the way for better administration of sports in the country. “The fact that they are willing to work on the sports bill for reforms is the biggest positive,” said Bindra from Lausanne.

Jitendra Singh, in his speech at the meeting, clarified to the IOC that it was not the government but the judiciary which had asked for adherence to the Sports Code in the IOA election. “The court directed that the elections should be held as per the constitution of the IOA, with the provisions of the Sports Code also being made applicable. There was no conflict in the provisions,” the Minister said.

Agreeing to help the Union Sports Ministry frame the Sports Bill, the IOC stated that an interim body would take over from the IOA and hold fresh elections, under the amended IOA constitution. “The ban will be lifted once the new IOA takes over,” said Union Sports Secretary, P. K. Deb, who was part of the Indian delegation.

After it had refused to recognise the IOA that went ahead with the elections despite being directed not to do so, the IOC was dealing with the acting president of the IOA, Vijay Kumar Malhotra, and IOC member Randhir Singh.