The International Olympic Committee on Friday, threatened to ban the Indian Olympic Association if the upcoming elections (December 5) are not held according to the Olympic Charter.
In a joint letter to IOA acting president Vijay Kumar Malhotra and secretary general Randhir Singh, who himself is a presidential candidate, IOC and OCA chiefs Jacques Rogge and Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah have asked the national Olympic body to clarify its stand by November 30, failing which the IOC will be forced to take a tough stand. The IOC feels that the elections may take place according to government and not Olympic charter guidelines.
The IOC has therefore, asked IOA for 'clear and written guarantees' that the elections will adhere to the guidelines of the charter. "Unless you rectify the situation with immediate effect and give a clear and and written guarantees to the IOC to ensure that the elections be held strictly on the basis of the Olympic Charter and the IOA's constitution, we inform you that a proposal for suspension of your NOC will be presented to to the IOC ExecutiveÂ Board at its next meeting on 4-5 December 2012," the IOC said in the letter.
".. it is our understanding that IOA is unable to confirm that IOA's elections will be held strictly in accordance with rules of Olympic Charter and IOA's constitution currently in force. On the contrary, it is mentioned that the government regulations shall apply for IOA's elections, thus ignoring the Olympic Charter and IOA's constitution," IOC President chief Jacques Rogge and OCA chief Al Sabah said in a joint letter.
"Unless you rectify the situation with immediate effect and give a clear and written guarantee to IOC to ensure that elections be held strictly on the basis of the Olympic Charter and IOA's constitution, we inform you that a proposal for suspension of your NOC will be presented to the IOC Executive Board at its next meeting on 4-5 December 2012, based on Rules 27.9 and 59.1.4 of the Olympic Charter," the letter stated.
The IOA has however said that the only point of difference between the Olympic Charter and the Sports Code is the age and tenure clause. The rest of the election norms, according to it, are exactly the same.
Barely a few hours after the IOC letter was circulated to the media, IOA acting chief V K Malhotra wrote a letter to the PM asking him to withdraw the Sports Code urgently.
"I have just received a letter from the IOC in which it has threatened to disaffiliate IOA if its elections scheduled to be held here on 5th December are held as per Sports Code of Government of India," Malhotra said in the letter to the PM. "Given the gravity of situation, as the fate of thousands of Indian sportspersons is linked with it, I sincerely appeal to you to immediately ask the Sports Ministry to withdraw this Sports Code.
"Disaffiliation from IOC will not be good for reputation and prestige of the country. It will seriously impede our progress in sports and demoralise sportspersons. India at this stage can ill-afford such a situation, hence the request you to step in and urgently withdraw this ill conceived Sports Code."
Explaining the rationale behind his plea for withdrawing the Sports Code, Malhotra, in his letter to the PM, said, "You may recall that an IOA delegation led by me had called upon you in June 2011 to apprise about the serious ramifications which will follow if the Government keep insisting on passing a National Sports Development Bill.
"Though the Government dropped the Bill but the Sports Code is still in existence and the IOC has made it clear that it will not accept/recognise any election to IOA conducted under this Sports Code."
The elections scheduled for December 5 has been mired in controversy over which of the two -- the government's Sports Code or the Olympic Charter -- should be followed. Even as the dispute over the procedure for the elections continued, the rival groups went on accusing each other of scuttling the poll process.
(With PTI inputs)