CHENNAI: In a significant move, the Supreme Court has asked all stakeholders to put on hold Delhi High Court order that asked the Committee of Administrators (CoA) to take over the Indian Olympic Association. The IOA had approached the Supreme Court on Thursday and asked them to look into the matter because this could attract suspension from the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The matter has been listed for Monday, the same day when the international football federation (FIFA) suspension would be heard.
According to the court order, the senior counsel for IOA had orally mentioned that the association could be suspended like AIFF if CoA is put in place. Interestingly, solicitor general, Tushar Mehta, representing the Union of India, also briefed the court and pointed out that "by virtue of the present order passed by the High Court of Delhi, there is every possibility that Indian athletes might lose the chance of participating in international events, including the Olympics".
The sports ministry has already been trying to break the suspension placed on AIFF by FIFA. Only if that suspension is revoked will India be allowed to host the U-17 World Cup as scheduled in October. The ministry apparently is not comfortable that the IOA, the mother organisation of all Olympic sports in the country, too has been placed under the CoA. If it attracts a suspension, the next year's IOC session to be held in Mumbai too could be under a cloud.
The court said: "It has been further stated that if the impugned order is allowed to operate, it would be not in the best interest of the nation. We are informed that the charge of the Indian Olympics Association has not been handed over to the Committee of Administrators so far."In view of the serious concerns raised in the matter, we direct the parties to maintain status quo," it said. Another suspension would be a big embarrassment for the country.
There is another issue that might be irking the ministry. The court has said that all NSFs should also be following the order, which means the present sports code too needed to be tweaked or updated accordingly. The ministry, through various affidavits, has been saying that it had granted recognition after making sure the NSFs had adhered to the sports code. In fact, it's a condition for the renewal of recognition every year. It needs to be seen what the approach of the ministry will be now.
The IOC is quite clear. In a reply to this newspaper, it had said that its July 20 letter still stands in which it had mentioned about suspension if elections are not held in the next few weeks under the old constitution. After the Delhi High Court order, the IOC said that it is following the development closely. "We are fully aware of the various court decisions. The IOC Executive Board will be updated about the situation on the occasion of its next meeting (7 to 9 September 2022)," said the IOC on Thursday.