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IOA suspension: A national shame

The International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) suspension of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has taken the India’s sporting fraternity by surprise. The apex Olympic body has suspended the IOA for its failure to hold independent elections. Whatever the arguments, the IOC Ethics Committee’s recommendation that tainted officials should not be elected to the IOA has merit.

The last recommendation is particularly telling as having tainted officials on the IOA sends a completely wrong message to the sports followers and stakeholders and the people at large. As it is, a cynical Indian public has seen tainted people, persons with criminal records and those implicated in large scale scams continue merrily in top posts, with hardly any of the big names paying for their follies. Even if they have paid with a jail term, they are the same thick-skinned people once out of jail and back to the chairs they occupied earlier. It is an injustice that is seen in different fields here from politics to sports and it rankles the common man to see the rich and famous simply get away with murder, metaphorically speaking, but in some unfortunate cases, make that literally.

While Olympic honchos are definitely going to sit down to iron out the problem, there is consensus that this is a national shame. Why allow things to get to the suspension stage? There must have been enough red flags raised earlier about an impending problem. The Indian body should have moved earlier for talks and discussions and close the communication gap with the IOC so that things do not reach the stage that they have now.

Now, it is time for the IOA to stop the blame game within their own ranks too. Instead of pointing fingers, they have to put up a cohesive, united front to present their case to the IOC. They should speak in one clear voice to the umbrella body and salvage the little honour they have left to redeem this situation.  

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