CHENNAI: There may be ambiguity or confusion regarding who is heading the Indian Olympic Association right now, but for the International Olympic Committee, it's quite clear. It's still Narinder Batra.
"The IOC continues to recognise Mr Narinder Dhruv Batra as IOA President until further notice and until the situation is clarified," IOC said in a reply to this newspaper.
The IOC is not amused that the fight between IOA president Batra and its secretary general Rajeev Mehta has reached the court. It said it had been stressing that whatever the issue, it should be settled in accordance with the IOA constitution and IOC Charter and should not go to court.
The IOC clarified its stance on the status of the IOA, especially after its senior vice-president Anil Khanna sent a mail saying he has assumed charge as acting president of IOA after Delhi High Court ruling on appointing Committee of Administrators in Hockey India.
The court had also said Batra cannot be life president of HI because it's in violation of the 2011 National Sports Development Code of India (NSDCI). Batra soon after the verdict announced that he would not contest the next IOA elections.
However, Khanna, who is in the Mehta camp, said he would be the acting president because Khanna claimed Batra, who was elected on his being a life president in HI, cannot continue as president. Senior IOA members claimed that only the house or the executive committee can decide who can be the acting president.
The IOC said that it "has been monitoring the latest developments following the recent decision of the Delhi High Court in the case of Hockey India and its potential implications on the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). The IOC is currently reviewing the situation carefully and is trying to gather all the necessary information and supporting documents to have a clear and factual picture of the situation."
Until then the IOC would continue to recognise Batra as the president. The IOC has also said, "as things stand, the IOC has not received any indication by the IOA competent governing bodies that the position of IOA President would have been declared vacant or that Mr Narinder Dhruv Batra would have resigned from his position as IOA President."
The IOC said that it is monitoring the issue and had been repeatedly asking all parties to act responsibly.
"Over the past decade, the IOC has repeatedly urged all concerned parties to act responsibly in the interest of sport and to settle their differences smoothly and amicably within the IOA, through its competent governing bodies, in accordance with the IOA Constitution and the Olympic Charter, rather than creating unnecessary legal disputes."
"Unfortunately, a legal action relating to the upcoming IOA elections has once more been initiated before an Indian Court and, as a result, the IOA elections have been delayed since December 2021. The IOC is hoping that common sense will prevail and that the IOA elections will be held as soon as possible, in the interest of the Olympic Movement and the athletes in India."