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Volume 6 No. 214


India has assured the IOC of the Olympic movement's autonomy in the country "in a first step toward mending relations after the nation was banned from the Olympics over government interference," according to Karolos Grohmann of REUTERS. The IOC said, "(India's) Sports Minister Jitendra Singh gave strong guarantees and a clear commitment that the government of India will fully respect the principle of autonomy of the Olympic movement." The IOC's comments "came at the end of a meeting" with India's sports minister, national federations and suspended Indian Olympic Association members in Lausanne, Switzerland. The ban "meant an end to funding" from the IOC for the IOA, no Indian officials attending Olympic meetings and Indian athletes banned from competing at the Olympics under their country's flag. The IOC added, "The main purpose of today's meetings was to explore the possibility for the suspended IOA to hold free, fair, democratic and transparent elections on the basis of a revised IOA constitution and the Olympic Charter, with no outside interference, that could pave the way for the IOC to consider lifting its suspension of the IOA" (REUTERS, 5/15).

THE ROADMAP: The AP reported the IOC will issue a "roadmap" for India's return to the Olympic fold. The IOC said the Indian body should review its constitution and hold "free, fair, democratic and transparent elections" based on the Olympic Charter and without political interference. The IOC said, "The entire process will be closely monitored and supervised by the IOC, which will issue a roadmap for the suspended IOA and all its members to follow." Singh said that "he was hopeful the suspension would be lifted soon." Singh: "The road map has been decided to bring India back in the Olympic fold and more details are being worked out" (AP, 5/15). The HINDU reported the Indian government and the IOA "disclosed that they had reached a consensus" about amending the IOA Constitution to "incorporate the age and tenure clauses." The government "had further diluted its tenure clause while sticking to 70 years as the limit for holding an executive post" (THE HINDU, 5/15).

The IOC "wants a global system for monitoring betting patterns at major sports events" in the "latest step" to guard against corruption and match-fixing, according to the AAP. An IOC working group "held its fourth meeting on Tuesday on the threat of illegal and irregular betting in sports." The panel called for an "Olympic movement monitoring system" similar to the one used at last year's London Games to be made available to int'l sports federations to use during their championships. IOC President Jacques Rogge said,  "Irregular and illegal betting attacks the very foundations of sport, and our efforts to combat the threat require the commitment of a number of important partners, specifically governments" (AAP, 5/15).

Caixa Econômica Federal has renewed its agreement with Spain's Olympic Sports Association (ADO) for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games as associate sponsor. The partnership is the highest form of agreement a business can have with the ADO. Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) President Alejandro Blanco and Superior Sports Council (CSD) President Miguel Cardenal together signed the agreement with Caixa President Isidro Fainé. Fainé: "The ADO Plan, with which we have maintained a fruitful relationship for more than 20 years, has been one of the principal pillars of the big leap in the quality of Spanish sport, at the international level, in recent decades" (EL PAIS, 5/14).

The Iranian flag "was standing side by side with the stars and stripes in a peaceful manner" on Tuesday at UN Headquarters in N.Y. as "the possible exit of wrestling" from the Olympics "brought them together in hope to save" the sport, according to XINHUA. The wrestling teams from the U.S., Iran and Russia, three of the world's wrestling superpowers, "came together in solidarity." One by one, diplomats from the Iranian and Russian UN Missions and a veteran American wrestling coach came to the podium before the Iranian, American and Russian flags "to speak in a bid to retain wrestling" as an Olympic sport (XINHUA, 5/15). RIA NOVOSTI reported the event "continues a broad PR push" by world wrestling governing body FILA, and "sees an all-day marathon of wrestling around the world, starting in Japan before climaxing with the three-country tournament" in N.Y. The final decision on the Olympic program for the 2020 Games "will be made by the IOC in Buenos Aires in September along with the announcement of the host city" (RIA NOVOSTI, 5/15).

Just "48 hours from the anticipated Copa del Rey final, Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid fans have found a refuge where they can shelve their historic rivalry and join hands and strengths," according to Tomás Roncero of AS. The Madrid 2020 Olympic bid has served to unite Real and Atlético fans. The joyful meeting took place at the bid's headquarters. Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) President Alejandro Blanco was the master of ceremonies in an act that "represented a successful announcement." Blanco: "The big bid for the candidacy of Madrid 2020 will be this Friday with the Copa final. Do not forget that 150 countries will see it on TV and that the image that we give will have a lot of influence on the future of our candidacy. The final will be a great showcase to the world, don't forget that those who will become legends to the players are you, the fans. Thanks for putting aside your rivalry and uniting your strengths for this cause" (AS, 5/15).