The last day of filing nominations for the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) elections witnessed an interesting turn of events. The IOA received yet another set of directions from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), insisting that it need not follow the government’s new sports code and that the November 25 polls will have to be held "exclusively" according to the Olympic charter and the IOA constitution.
This has rattled the Randhir Singh camp which was banking on IOA’s letter (dated November 5, 2012) signed by the three-member election commission. It said that the "provisions governing the elections in the sports code of the government of India" would be applicable to the IOA elections and would prevail in case of discrepancy with the provisions of the constitution/by-laws of the IOA.
The latest IOC directive came in response to IOA acting president VK Malhotra’s letter written on Thursday. "We wish to make it clear that the IOA elections must be conducted exclusively on the basis of the Olympic Charter and the current constitution/By-laws of the IOA, as approved by the IOC, without any government interference in this process," IOC’s National Olympic Committees (NOC) relations director Pere Miro wrote to Malhotra.
This has come as a shock to most of the members who were supporting the government’s initiative on the ‘age and tenure’ issue. "The matter is being heard in the Delhi high court and any defiance of the order will amount to contempt of court," said a senior IOA official.
"Sometimes, I fail to understand even IOC’s stand. On the one hand, its ethics panel asks IOA to suspend all the three tainted officials with immediate effect and not allow them to contest for the next elections. And now, its latest letter will put the same group in an advantageous position. We will fight against this and hope to get justice from the honourable Delhi high court."
Meanwhile, reacting to the new IOC stand, the poll returning officer justice (retd) VK Bali told DNA that the "three-member panel has already decided that the IOA election will be conducted as per the IOA and the government’s new sports code. The decision cannot be reversed as not only the panel has agreed to it the high court has also endorsed the sports code."