With the fast-developing situation regarding India’s suspension by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) getting more and more complicated, the IOC stated on Thursday it would continue to deal with Vijay Kumar Malhotra and Randhir Singh and not the newly-elected office-bearers of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).

In a letter dated December 6, titled ‘To whom it may concern’, and mailed to Malhotra, Randhir, and IOA’s e-mail address, the IOC stated: “There is no change concerning the current office-bearers of the suspended Indian Olympic Association, with Mr Malhotra as Acting President (provided he does not act against the IOC directives) and Mr Randhir Singh as secretary-general of the suspended Indian Olympic Association.”

On a day when news came of the boxing federation’s suspension by both the international federation (AIBA) and the Union Sports Ministry, this was another big setback to the newly-elected IOA office-bearers.

As options became more and more limited for the new set-up there was this growing feeling within the fraternity that re-elections to the IOA will have to be held at some point of time in the coming weeks or months.

For that, the IOA will need to amend its constitution, either as per its choice, or according to the National Sports Code, especially on tenure and age-limit of office-bearers, and get it approved by the IOC.

Ad hoc panel

Union Sports Minister Jitendra Singh told a press conference on Friday the Government was looking into the possibility of getting an ad hoc committee to deal with the situation.

IOC President Jaques Rogge was quoted at a press conference in Lausanne on Thursday that the IOC was not looking into the possibility of forming a “provisional body” right now.

Any attempt by the ministry to form an ad hoc body, with sportspersons in charge, as the minister said, may only be construed as a direct interference by the government by the IOC. One of the charges against the IOA that led to the suspension had been “government interference.”

Ministry sources said IOC member Randhir Singh was not among those whom the ministry had thought of as possible candidates for an ad hoc committee position.

IOC Director-General Christophe de Kepper stated in his letter that the suspended body was not entitled to exercise “any activity or right conferred upon it by the Olympic Charter or the IOC.”

The IOC would not recognise the “so-called elections” and the “elected office-bearers have no legitimacy to claim to represent or act on behalf of the suspended” IOA, the letter said.

The IOC said it would resort to legal action in case the newly-elected office-bearers attempted to access IOA’s bank accounts.

Asked about this, the minister said it was a matter between the IOA and the IOC.

Union Sports Secretary P.K. Deb, who met an IOA delegation on Friday, said the meeting was “exploratory” and no decision was taken.

The ministry, sources said, was not in favour of recognising any faction at the moment. The results of the IOA’s elections have not been communicated to us as yet. So, recognition has not been granted to the newly-elected body,” said Mr. Deb.

The minister said it was high time the draft Sports Bill, which had been lying with the Ministry for more than a year after being rejected by the Union Cabinet, was pushed forward. “The Sports Bill is the need of the hour. We will consult with our Cabinet colleagues. We are meeting all stake holders. I cannot give you an exact timeframe. But very soon it will be done,” he said.

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