The Indian Olympic Association has finally blinked and decided to withdraw nominations of Commonwealth Games-scam tainted former president Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Singh Chautala as life presidents. The decision was taken during a meeting, where the top brass of the IOA assembled in New Delhi on Monday.
There has been a lot of pressure from the Sports Ministry to overturn the nominations of Kalmadi and Chautala as life presidents of the IOA.
This time, they couldn’t have resisted much as the cause itself was fraught with danger. Not just the wrath of the ministry, even the situation within the body was that of discontent.
It even threatened to divide the house into two — not between Chautala-Kalmadi supporters and others — but between pro-IOA president N Ramachandran and those against. There were various lobbies in play to destabilise IOA’s functioning.
Even the letter, that was supposed to be sent to the ministry regarding IOA’s fresh stand, was leaked a day before — something that wouldn’t have happened had there been more cohesion between senior officials. It is understood that it was a deliberate attempt to create a rift within the IOA, especially between Ramachandran and Chautala.
The IOA president, when asked of the situation, refused to comment on the letter. He did touch upon the crisis that brewed between the ministry and the IOA, after it was suspended. “We’re confident this issue will be resolved in the next few days, and are working towards the most amicable settlement,” he said.
The sports minister also responded with a statement. “I have seen media reports that Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has cancelled the appointment of Shri Suresh Kalmadi and Shri Abhay Singh Chautala as lifetime presidents,” the statement said.
“I am happy that the IOA has reversed its decision, which augurs well for governance of sports in the country.” The ministry also said that when the IOA withdraws their nominations, their ban would be lifted.
Bowing down to ministry’s diktat will have a great bearing on those sports administrators who have been charge-sheeted, and against whom criminal proceedings have been initiated, or those with a tainted background.
There are quite a few powerful administrators in the IOA, and they will look at this as a warning against contesting the body’s elections. Whatever hopes they have been harbouring to become the next president or secretary will be dashed by this.
Because if ‘good governance’ is to be imposed, then no one with a tainted background can contest or assume office. Hopefully, the IOA sticks to its policy for the betterment and larger good of sport.