India Looks To Mend Relationships, Return To Olympics With Government Guarantees
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).