India’s wait to get back into the Olympic fold just got a tad longer.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has rejected the request of the suspended Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to allow chargesheeted officials to continue in and run for office.
The committee’s executive board, which met in Buenos Aires (Argentina) ahead of the 125th IOC Session, had unanimously conveyed to the IOA that its “stand on the chargesheet clause to ensure good governance” has to be adopted in the IOA constitution.
This was necessitated after two of the top IOA officials Suresh Kalmadi and Lalit Bhanot were chargesheeted and put behind bars on corruption charges after the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
The IOA swung into action immediately and its acting president, Vijay Kumar Malhotra, who deliberately skipped last month’s special general body meeting, expressed regret over the world body’s decision not to revoke India’s suspension.
The veteran administrator hinted that the IOA would convene a general body meeting after receiving IOC’s latest communication.
“We have to follow the IOC charter. The only thing is they can have more clarifications here and there. Definitely, I am also of the opinion that people facing criminal and corruption charges shouldn’t contest the IOA elections. But we need see to what stage it can be made applicable.
“The government has also taken its view on it and gone to the Supreme Court. So we will like to study all these things and then convey our acceptance to the IOC clause,” Malhotra added.
On the other hand, Union sports minister Jitendra Singh welcomed the IOC’s decision to stand firm on its condition and asked the IOA to incorporate the required amendments in the interest of sportspersons.
“The IOC is insisting on ethics and good governance. I hope that better sense will prevail and IOA will incorporate the suggested changes,” Singh said on Thursday.
“The government of India is in sync with the IOC on the issue of ethics and good governance. We are going to request the IOC that they should have an alternative method by which the sportspersons of the country can contest under the Indian flag,” the minister added.
It must be mentioned here that IOA was suspended from the Olympic movement last December after tainted official Bhanot was elected IOA secretary-general.
The tone of suspended body president Abhay Singh Chautala was still that of defiance as he blamed Randhir Singh for creating the present mess. “We can’t go beyond the law of our land. We will make our constitution according to the law of the land. We have clearly told this to the two-member IOC delegation,” Chautala said, adding, “Randhir has destroyed Indian sports. Go and ask him whether he is with the law of the land or with the IOC?”
However, IOA senior vice-president Tarlochan Singh termed “chargesheet” a minor thing in India.
“We have already put a clause in our constitution that anybody convicted for two years cannot be a member of the IOA.
Chargesheet is a very minor thing in India and we got to convince the IOC about it,” he said.
However, former athlete and Clean Sports India president Ashwini Nachappa expressed her happiness over IOC’s stand on tainted and corrupt officials.
“We are not in a situation like the BCCI where they are bigger than the ICC. It is for the first time IOC has taken such a firm decision.
They are very serious on the change that is needed to be addressed,” she said. dna has learnt that the sports ministry would soon convene a meeting of the IOA stakeholders in order to reach a consensus on the “ethics” issue.