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SBD Global/November 26, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

IOA Slams Gov't For Writing To IOC, Which Threatens To Suspend India

The Indian Olympic Association "has strongly objected to the Sports Ministry's letter to the IOC that sought a meeting with the world body and requested the Dec. 5 IOA elections be put off," according to the Delhi MAIL TODAY. Sports Ministry Secretary PK Deb had written to IOC President Jacques Rogge "to sort out differences over the contentious sports code that puts a cap on age and tenure of office bearers of National Sports Federations." The sports code has been "the bone of contention between the government and the IOA," which has maintained the guidelines are an "infringement on autonomy." IOA acting President Vijay Kumar Malhotra said, "The double speak of the Government of India is clear as on one hand it says that it has no 'intentions whatsoever to interfere in the functioning of the IOA' and on the other it is insisting that National Sports Federations should accept its so called Sports Code" (MAIL TODAY, 11/23). Malhotra said he was "surprised at the audacity of the Sports Ministry to misrepresent the IOA at the highest international forum." He added: "To start with, the very fact that Mr. Deb has directly written to you (Rogge) and the IOC bypassing the Indian Olympic Association, shows the government's intentions, interests and interference in the affairs of the IOA" (PTI, 11/22). In Chennai, India, K.P. Mohan wrote "in the severest threat held out so far in over two years of  'autonomy debate,'" the IOC on Friday warned the IOA that it faced suspension if it went ahead with its elections not adhering to its constitution and the Olympic Charter. The IOA has been given until Nov. 30 to explain its position that it was "ready to hold the Dec. 5 elections as per the directives of the IOC." The IOC said that if it fails to do so, the suspension of its NOC will be presented to the IOC Exec Board at its next meeting on Dec. 4-5. This is the first time Rogge has directly entered the debate about autonomy, violation of the Olympic Charter and suspension threats "that had been hanging over the Olympic Movement in the country for more than two years since the Union Government brought in a set of revised tenure guidelines" (THE HINDU, 11/23).

PULLING OUT OF THE RACE: The PTI wrote the "controversy-marred IOA elections took a dramatic twist" on Sunday with Randhir Singh withdrawing his nomination for the post of president, clearing the decks for Abhay Singh Chautala to take charge of the high-profile post. Randhir's withdrawal from the contest "on a day of dramatic development put an end to the bitter and acrimonious campaign between the rival factions in the run-up to the elections." Randhir said that "he was doing so in the light of the IOC's warning to India to disaffiliate if the elections are held under government's Sports Code and that it would not recognise such a poll" (PTI, 11/25).

ATTACKING THE IOC: The TNN's Biswajyoti Brahma noted former Sports Minister MS Gill, the man behind the Sports Code which has led to the IOC threatening the IOA with a ban, called the int'l body a "paper tiger" on Friday and "criticized it for trying to block good practices which it itself follows." Gill said, "What is a good practice for the IOC is being sought to be blocked in India." He added, "Soon after I became the sports minister, I faced serious questions from the Delhi high court. I looked into the matter and decided that the reforms had to be done immediately for the good of Indian sportspersons. I framed a detailed order (on May 2, 2010) in which I limited everyone to finally retire from sports management at age 70. I limited the president's tenure to 12 years and executive members' tenure, to 8 years. These, in fact, I copied from the IOC's own regulations (charter)" (TNN, 11/25). The PTI noted Gill rejected the IOC's stand, calling it smacks of "sports imperialism." Gill "attacked the IOC for trying to intimidate India." He said, "They (the IOC) do not like to annoy their voters in any manner. I also see that there is clear sports imperialism of the west in all games. The control over each game, is essentially with the western world. Political imperialism has gone but not sports imperialism" (PTI, 11/25).
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