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SBD Global/December 5, 2012/Olympics

IOC Bans Indian Olympic Association Over Controversial Election Process

IOA President Abhey Singh Chautala speaks to reporters after the IOC suspended the IOA due to government interference in the election process.
The IOC exec board has suspended the Indian Olympic Association for its failure to comply with the Olympic Charter and its statutes, failure to inform the IOC in a timely matter, and as a protective measure against government interference in the IOA’s election process.  With the decision, the IOA is no longer entitled to exercise any activity or right, including financial support, conferred upon it by the Olympic Charter or the IOC until the suspension is lifted by the IOC exec board. The exec board said that the IOA is not entitled to hold any elections until all pending issues are resolved and the exec board lifts the suspension. The exec board also confirmed the lifting of the suspension of the NOC of Kuwait following guarantees of its autonomy. The NOC and national federations are now able to operate in full compliance with the Olympic Charter and the rules of the Int'l Federations (IOC). The AP's Stephen Wilson reported the IOC had "repeatedly told the Indian body to adhere to its own constitution and the Olympic Charter and not follow the government's sports code for this week's elections." The IOC "will not recognize the results if the elections are held under government rules." The Indians have "been mired in wrangling" over the elections to replace IOA President Suresh Kalmadi, who was jailed for nine months on corruption charges related to the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi (AP, 12/4). Meanwhile, the IOA has been "directed by a Delhi court to hold the elections adhering to the government's sports code" (REUTERS, 12/4).

AFP reported India's sports officials "slammed the IOC's decision" to suspend the country's membership, saying it was "wrong and one-sided." IOA President-elect Abhey Singh Chautala said, "It is wrong and a one-sided decision. We will meet [Wednesday] to decide our future course of action" (AFP, 12/4). PTI reported Chautala held India's IOC representative Randhir Singh responsible for the national Olympic body’s suspension by the IOC and demanded his "immediate withdrawal from the IOC." Chautala: "From the start to finish Randhir is responsible for the entire mess. To save his chair he can do anything. He should resign first (as IOC member from India) because he has spread all the dirt in Indian sports" (PTI, 12/4).

CLEANING UP THE MESS: PTI also noted the IOC's decision to ban the IOA gives an "opportunity" to clean the mess, and insisted that the int'l body is "not against the country but against the system." Randhir said, "The mess that is happening today in the Olympic committee needs to be cleaned up. I think what we are heading for now with this suspension is that it gives an opportunity to clean the mess." Asked about Chautala's comment that Radhir was responsible for the mess in the sports body, Radhir said, "He is proclaiming himself as the IOA president on what basis. On an election which the international committee doesn't approve to. Which governing body or election is he talking about who are going to pass a resolution against me. It doesn't matter, India is suspended. he should wake up, it's all over" (PTI, 12/4).

ATHLETES SPEAK OUT: In another piece under the headline "Major embarrassment for India," PTI wrote the sports fraternity "expressed outrage at the IOC's decision to suspend India for government interference, with some athletes blaming the IOA for the entire fiasco." London Games Bronze Medalist rifle shooter Gagan Narang termed the development "unfortunate." Beijing Games Bronze Medalist boxer Vijender Singh agreed with Narang, but "hoped for an early settlement of the issue." Singh: "I hope the matter is resolved early so that there is no long-term implication on athletes" (PTI, 12/4). IANS reported London Games Bronze Medal boxer MC Mary Kom said that "it would be difficult for her to compete without knowing the fate of Indian sports." Mary Kom: "I do not know much about this. I don't have a good feeling about this. I will not be able to give my 100% without the Indian flag." Veteran tennis player Mahesh Bhupathi wrote on Twitter, "So I got banned, now the IOA gets banned, they says things like these normally happen in three's.. Wonder what's next!!" (IANS, 12/4).
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