The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has not granted any concession to the Indian athletes to compete in the Olympic Games under an ‘independent’ entry system following the suspension of the Indian Olympic Association.
The next Olympics being four years away, there is no immediate danger of Indian athletes missing out on anything since the matter is expected to be resolved by then.
However, the letter from the IOC to the IOA, detailing the suspension decision, has talked about the IOC Executive Board having reserved its right to “take further measures and to take action with regard to the participation of Indian athletes
in international Olympic-related events.”
An IOC spokeswoman explained over phone from Lausanne on Wednesday that since the National Olympic Committee (NOC) was suspended Indian athletes would not be able to participate in the Olympics if the suspension continued.
She said on a case by case basis the IOC had a system of allowing “independent” entries (in order to protect the athletes’ interests), but in this instance there was no such concession granted.
Asked about whether the EB was mentioning the possibility of Olympic-qualifying events by stating “Olympic-related events”, she answered in the affirmative.
There could be no restrictions on India’s participation in the Asian Games, though that could hinge on how the Olympic Council of Asia looked at the matter in the light of the latest developments.
In its official communication regarding the suspension, addressed to the IOA Acting President, Vijay Kumar Malhotra, and the Secretary-General, Randhir Singh, who were in charge till Tuesday, the IOC President, Jaques Rogge, said that the IOC regretted the decision but had been forced to take it by the IOA and relevant authorities.
The IOC EB decision at Lausanne, Switzerland, on Tuesday stated: “To suspend the Indian Olympic Association with immediate effect pursuant to Rules 27.9 and 59.1.4 of the Olympic Charter until the Indian Olympic Association is in a position to satisfy all the conditions set out in the Olympic Charter and the IOC’s requirements, in particular:
(i) to guarantee its full autonomy; (ii) to ensure free and fair elections in conformity with its own statutes and the Olympic Charter; and (iii) to implement all basic principles of ethics and good governance in its daily management.
“The IOC Executive Board decides that, with this suspension, the Indian Olympic Association is no longer entitled to exercise any activity or right conferred upon it by the Olympic Charter or the IOC. In particular, the IOC will withhold any financial assistance to the Indian Olympic Association.
“The IOC Executive Board states that the Indian Olympic Association is not entitled to hold any elections without express prior approval of the IOC.” The letter stated that the IOC EB had examined the latest situation including letters received from Malhotra. The IOC EB noted that the IOA was faced with “outside interference” in applying its election rules which threatened its autonomy.
The letter stated that the IOA had been unable to observe its own statutes and the Olympic Charter. The IOC’s position had not been taken into consideration seriously and responsibly by the IOA and the “relevant Government authorities”, Rogge stated in his letter.