The International Olympic Committee on Thursday issued a ‘final warning’ to the Indian Olympic Association to conduct its elections at the earliest or face a suspension.
The IOC has given India until December 2022 to conduct its elections or face immediate suspension when the world body’s Executive Board meets. The EB also decided to postpone the IOC Session which is scheduled to take place in Mumbai next year, from its original date in May to September/October.
The previous IOA chief Narinder Batra, in July, resigned from his post as IOC member and president of the International Hockey Federation citing personal reasons. A month earlier though, the Supreme Court of India had ordered Hockey India to be brought under the control of a Committee of Administrators due to Batra’s illegal involvement.
After Batra stepped down from his post at the IOA, former All India Tennis Association chief Anil Khanna was appointed interim-president of the IOA.
IOA elections were due to take place in December 2021 but are yet to be conducted. Because of this, last month, after the Commonwealth Games, the Supreme Court decided to put the IOA too under the charge of a Committee of Administrators to look after its affairs and conduct elections.
A few weeks ago however, Athletics Federation of India president Adille Sumariwalla asserted that he had been appointed IOA chief, only for the secretary general Rajeev Mehta to refute it.
“The EB received a report on the situation of the NOC of India highlighting the recurrent internal disputes and governance issues within the NOC, which have caused delays in the holding of the NOC quadrennial elections that should have taken place in December 2021 and have affected the ongoing development of sport in the country. It was noted that the NOC had already been suspended by the IOC for similar reasons between 2012 and 2014,” read a report on the IOC website.
“In view of the ongoing internal disputes, governance shortcomings and continuing court cases, the EB decided to issue a final warning and consider the immediate suspension of the NOC of India at the next EB meeting in December 2022 if, by then, the NOC of India is not able to:
“ address and resolve its governance issues to the IOC’s satisfaction, in the interests of sport and the athletes; and
“ operate properly through its governing bodies, i.e. the Executive Committee and General Assembly, and fulfil its obligations, in particular by holding its quadrennial elections in accordance with the Olympic Charter.”
When the IOC’s EB meets in December, should it not be satisfied by the position in India, it may decide to suspend the national Olympic committee. This would result in, according to the IOC, Indian athletes not being able to compete under the country’s name or flag at the Olympics or other international sports events – such as the Asian Games.
Additionally, “the NOC is no longer entitled to operate as an NOC according to its role as defined in the Olympic Charter. In addition, it will no longer receive any funding from the Olympic Movement until the suspension is lifted.”