This will rank among Indian sport's lowest moments ever. The Indian Olympic Association has been suspended and bodies like the Indian Boxing Federation and the Archery Association of India have either been suspended provisionally or derecognized, by international federations and even by the Sports Ministry.
New Delhi: This will rank among Indian sport's lowest moments ever. The Indian Olympic Association has been suspended and bodies like the Indian Boxing Federation and the Archery Association of India have either been suspended provisionally or derecognized, by international federations and even by the Sports Ministry.
Here are some frequently asked questions answered:
1) Why IOA was suspended?
The Indian Olympic Association was suspended on Wednesday after weeks of conflict with the International Olympic Committee. The broad reason cited was government interference. In India, the Sports Ministry has been pushing for implementation of the sports code, much to the displeasure of some sports federations and their respective heads as it may hinder in their remaining in office. Seen as a conflict within the country, IOC warned that the matter be resolved before the IOA elections. It didn't happen and IOA was suspended.
2) What is the Sports code?
Sports code has been referred to on several occasions in the past week. The main points in the code which has contributed to the bans and/or suspensions are the age limit and the limits on tenure. Yet to be approved by the Indian parliament, sports code seeks to put a cap on the age of federation heads and seeks to ensure that no one person can stay at the helm for too long. The same is also part of the International Olympic Charter. To put it simply then, it is believed most Indian federations are opposed to it because their heads do not meet these rules.
3) Why was the International Amateur Boxing Federation provisionally suspended IABF?
Now cutting the umbrella that IOA is over sports federations in the country, a look at individual bodies for specific sports.
3.1) Abhay Chautala was head of IABF before becoming president of IOA. He now is the chairman of IABF too, a post specially created in the constitution of the body. He now says he is ready to quit that post.
3.2) Chautala became president of IOA as a representative of IABF. His brother-in-law heads IABF.
The international boxing body on Friday said that it was provisionally suspending IABF as it 'learnt about possible manipulation of the recent IABF's election.' Not only does this mean that a fresh election may have to now take place but it also questions the larger issue of Chautala's ascension to the umbrella body (IOA). "AIBA will now investigate this election and especially a potential political link between IOA President, as former Chairman of the IABF, and the IABF election," said a release.
In what came as a second blow, the sports ministry also has said that fresh elections within 15 days will have to take place. Has de-recognised IABF.
4) Why the government de-recognised Archery Association of India?
The AAI is a classic example, many believe, of why heads do not want sports code to be implemented. Vijay Kumar Malhotra has been heading AAI for 40 years and is aged 81 years - well above the prescribed age limit of 70.
4.1) Elections were held in November with Malhotra being elected unopposed. Sports Minister Jitendra Singh on Friday said that while the procedures adopted in the elections were in conformity with the procedures laid down in the Sports Code and common practice, the Archery Association has violated the age and tenure restrictions prescribed in the Sports Code.
Why the Athletics Federation is in trouble?
The Sports Ministry on Tuesday (December 11) ordered Athletics Federation of India to hold fresh elections. In a release, the Ministry said that one of the clauses in the AFI constitution was found to be restrictive and against the provision of the sports code. This is Clause XIV(b)(1) which requires that a person must be an existing member of the Executive Committee of the AFI for seeking election to the post of President/Secretary. The Ministry has found it to be restrictive.
5) Why it isn't straightforward to resolve all matters?
IOA representatives and heads of federations have repeatedly said that letters were written either clarifying positions or seeking clarity. The replies are awaited, they say. The same has been said by IOC and sports ministry too, at differing times and to different queries. Clearly, there is a lack of clarity in who wrote what and when.
Add the legal wrangles and what some term as political unwillingness to the mix and effective decisions do not see the light of the day. While some federation chiefs have challenged the sports bill in High Courts, others have criminal cases pending against them but say they have not been proven guilty.
6) What happens to sportspersons?
6.1) As things stand at the time of publishing this article, Indian athletes can only take part in the Olympics and Olympic-related events under the IOC flag - Rio Olympics in 2016 and Asian Games in 2014 are in the future.
6.2) A fair estimate suggests that most are happy with the suspension of IOA as they believe it will help in cleansing the system.
6.3) Boxers and archers though are also upset with the suspension of their respective federations. They say it will hurt them but stop short of giving their verdict on if it is correct or unnecessary. For the boxers , the ban on their federation comes directly from the international boxing body which means they can't compete in events organised by the body (AIBA) like the World Championships next year.
6.4) IOA will not get funds from IOC. Development requires funding and the suspension means that athletes and sports infrastructure will suffer unless the matter is resolved. India and its sports federations can ill-afford this
6.5) Many like shooter Abhinav Bindra have already gone on record saying sports federations should be managed by sportspersons. Jitendra Singh has already suggested an ad-hoc committee comprising of eminent sportspersons. Yet to be firmly realized though.
7) What next?
Free and fair elections seem to be the only solution, putting complex things into simpler perspective. Sports code too, in the long run seems to be the need of the hour for Indian sports. There also is a need for sportspersons to come forward more actively.
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