IOC warns, IOA says it's out of line

IOA acting president says election will be held after taking permission from court and amending constitution.

Published: 23rd July 2022 12:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th July 2022 12:44 AM   |  A+A-

The Olympic rings are reflected on the windows at the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee. (File photo | AFP)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: THE way things stand, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) seems to be heading towards a ban. Going by the tenor of the letter sent to the IOA, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) seem peeved with the 'multiple legal proceedings'. Unless the elections are held soon, they warned that sanctions could be imposed.

The letter was curt and said that IOA could be facing a ban if they don't hold executive council meeting and subsequent special general meeting and finalise the dates of long-pending elections, IOC would be forced to penalise IOA. Interestingly, the letter has been addressed to all members of the executive council of the IOA and signed by James McLeod, Director of Olympic Solidarity and NOC relations, IOC, and Husain Al-Musallam, Director General and Technical Director of OCA.

On the other hand, the IOA is saying that IOC and the OCA’s warning is ‘out of line’. 

Anil Khanna, the acting president of the IOA, in response to the letter said such a warning without discussion was not correct. In a letter to the IOC and the OCA dated July 22, he wrote that IOA is working towards holding the elections at the earliest.

The IOC had, in different replies to The New Indian Express, insisted that they are monitoring the situation closely without acknowledging the appointment of Khanna as the acting president. Even after Narinder Batra resigned as IOA president on a plain paper, the IOC had said they were closely monitoring the situation.

What could take an interesting turn is a letter sent to the two IOC and OCA officials from the IOA acting president. According to the letter, the IOC and OCA should have given time and spoken with them before sending such a warning of suspension. The letter also says that Khanna has been appointed as acting president by the Delhi High Court as per law of the land and IOA constitution.

The acting president's letter also says that the IOC has veered "out of line". The letter also said that despite the current dispensation’s request for a meeting with the IOC, no time has been granted as yet. "What I, however, find a little out of line, is a premature warning of suspension without having been given a reasonable opportunity by the IOC/OCA to the IOA. IOA has been requesting for a meeting with your good selves repeatedly, to draw out the timelines to address the concerns of IOC/OCA. We are hopeful that you will kindly give us this opportunity."

The letter also speaks about India's judicial system. "I have to respectfully submit that India is the largest democracy in the world and has one of the finest and most independent judicial systems anywhere in the world,” the letter said. "India, over the last few years, with the initiatives taken by the government and the people of India, is now the fifth largest economy of the world. The vision of the government of India is to also evolve India as a sports power and government in various initiatives like Khelo India, Tribal Sports, National Games, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, Olympics and International Events for different sports."

The letter also requested the OCA to organise a meeting with the OCA acting president Randhir Singh in India.

Another interesting point in the IOC/OCA letter was that the election must be held as per the existing constitution. "...and confirm the date of the IOA quadrennial elections without any further delay, in accordance with IOC Charter and the IOA Constitution currently in force and approved by the IOC".

The acting president's letter, on the contrary, said it would hold the election after taking permission of the court and also talked about amending the constitution in accordance with the sports code.

This was coming. The elections were supposed to be held in December, but because of court proceedings, the process is yet to begin. In the letter, the acting president also talks about how IOA is closely with the Indian government to promote sports through National Games and Tribal Games among others.

The way things stand, if the elections are not held soon, the IOC will be left with no choice but to suspend the IOA like in 2012.


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