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Ban on IOA stays
International Olympic Committee on Thursday rejected Indian Olympic Association's compromise formula on the chargesheet clause even as a defiant IOA stuck to its stand that Indian law would prevail on these matters, further jeopardising the country's chances of a quick return to the Olympic fold.
New Delhi (PTI): International Olympic Committee on Thursday rejected Indian Olympic Association's compromise formula on the chargesheet clause even as a defiant IOA stuck to its stand that Indian law would prevail on these matters, further jeopardising the country's chances of a quick return to the Olympic fold.
In its Special General Body Meeting last month, the IOA had come up with a compromise formula to IOC's directive to bar chargesheeted persons from contesting elections with the proposal that the sanction be applied only to those who are convicted and sentenced to a jail term of more than two years.
But the IOC stood firm on its earlier stand during its Executive Board (EB) meeting yesterday ahead of the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires and asked IOA to accept all demands in full before conducting elections. "Since the suspension of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) in December 2012, the IOC has been working towards finding a solution to improve good governance within the National Olympic Committee (NOC)," the IOC said in a statement on its website.
"The IOC provided the IOA with a roadmap and sent observers to the IOA's General Assembly (GA) that took place on 25 August. The EB heard a report that the GA had approved most of the amendments to the IOA's constitution requested by the IOC, but one specific clause had not been adopted.
"This clause, which deals specifically with the eligibility of members, is key to the good governance of the NOC and needs to be fully accepted before the suspended IOA can proceed with the elections. An official notification of the IOC's position will be sent to the IOA," the statement read.
However, Despite the tough stand of the IOC, the suspended IOA continued to be in a defiant mood, saying Indian law would prevail on these matters and the world body cannot force these provisions upon it. "We can't go beyond the law of our land. We will make our constitution according to the law of the land. We have clearly told the two-member IOC delegation that we can't go beyond the law of the land," said the suspended IOA's president Abhay Singh Chautala.
India was suspended from the Olympic movement in December last year after tainted Lalit Bhanot, who is facing corruption charges linked to the scandal-hit 2010 Commonwealth Games, was elected secretary-general of the IOA. Sports Minister Jitendra Singh backed the IOC's decision and urged the IOA to incorporate the required amendments in its constitution so that the interest of country's sportspersons do not suffer.
"There are certain issues IOC is insisting on. One of the major ones is ethics and good governance. So, I hope better sense prevails and the IOA incorporate some of the changes, which the IOC has suggested," said the Minister. "I don't think there should be a problem in incorporating these changes because it is a part of the Olympic Charter. It is nothing new that the IOC is saying," he added.
Jitendra termed IOA's reluctance to amend its constitution in accordance with the IOC's suggestion as "sad" and asked the association to give preference to the interest of the sportspersons. "It is sad that the IOA did not modify their constitution as per the international guidelines, international benchmark or as per the Olympic Charter. "I would like to request IOA to consider modifications in their constitution, keeping in mind the interest of the sportspersons and not some individuals' interests. It is very very unfortunate that some individuals' interests took precedence over nation and the sportspersons," he said.
Chautala trained his guns on IOC's representative in the country, Randhir Singh and held him responsible for the current mess. "Randhir has destroyed Indian sports. He himself was the secretary general of IOA for 25 years but during his 25-year-long tenure, he was not being able to produce a single sportperson who has made India proud. He himself was an Olympian but failed to produce Olympians.
He just enjoyed his position, went on foreign tours and destroyed IOA's money," Chautala alleged. "Ask him whether he is with the law of the land or with the IOC?" Chautala asked. Vijay Kumar Malhotra, the acting-president of the IOA, demanded that the IOC should make the contentious chargesheet clause mandatory for all member nations.
"We are yet to receive communication from the IOC and we are discuss the issue once we get intimation from the world body," said Malhotra. "But the IOC (chargesheet) clause should be applicable to all member countries. If it is for all countries, naturally, we will have to follow it. I don't think this clause is in the constitution of other countries because these questions never arose before," said Malhotra.
The veteran administrator even urged the IOC to become more specific about the chargesheet clause. "We have to follow the IOC charter. The only thing is they can have more clarifications here and there. Definitely, I am also of the opinion that people facing criminal and corruption charges shouldn't contest the election. But we need see to what stage it can be made applicable.