New Delhi: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has made it clear that there can’t be any compromise on the clause of ethics and good governance, thereby serving a body blow to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA)’s efforts of keeping its tainted officials within the association.
An unperturbed IOA, however, has already indicated it is unlikely to follow the guidelines of the IOC. It means that the nation’s apex sporting body will continue to be under suspension.
In fact, senior IOA officials, including Vijay Kumar Malhotra and Abhay Chautala, have now taken an aggressive stand saying no government anywhere in the world would accept such a law.
However, there’s a different side to the story as well. Though no one was ready to go on record, it is believed that the warring factions within the IOA are now working on a compromise formula to sort out their differences.
Reacting to the suspended IOA’s request that only “convicted” officials with jail terms of more than two years could be barred from contesting its elections and “chargsheeted” ones should be allowed to prove their innocence, the IOC executive board said that all its demands have to be accepted.
“This clause, which deals specifically with the eligibility of members, is key to the good governance of the NOC and needs to be fully accepted before the suspended IOA can proceed with the elections. An official notification of the IOC’s position will be sent to the IOA,” said a statement from IOC, on the eve of its 125th session, in Buenos Aires.
To add to IOA’s woes, the sports ministry has also welcomed IOC’s decision and said that the ‘chargesheet clause’ has to be incorporated for better governance. Sports minister Jitendra Singh, however, said: “We have to request the IOC for an alternative solution so that our athletes don’t suffer.”
Interestingly, according to a senior sports ministry official, at present there are more than twenty chargesheeted officials in the IOA.
Though wrapped in constitutional amendments and question of ethical practice, it is now clear the affairs of the IOA are actually a battle of power between two groups. While Suresh Kalmadi and Lalit Bhanot, who have been chargesheeted on charges of corruption related to 2010 Commonwealth Games, is on one side, veteran administrator Randhir Singh is on the other. There are allegations that Randhir, who has been member of the IOC for a long time, is using all his influence in the international body to make things difficult for IOA.
“The demand of IOC is weird,” said Chautala, the president of the suspended IOA. “We can’t go outside the law of the land. We have already told the IOC about it,” he added.
IOA vice-president Tarlochan Singh said no chargesheeted official could be asked to refrain from taking part in elections as such a clause won’t stand in the court of law. “The Supreme Court, too, has said that only the convicted persons can’t be members of Parliament and state assemblies.”
Malhotra, on the other hand, said: “We have to follow the IOC charter… I am also of the opinion that people facing criminal and corruption charges shouldn’t contest the elections… But we need to see till what stage it can be made applicable.”