If trying to save one’s chair was an Olympic sport, India would feature on the podium. And in all probability, they would have settled for nothing less than gold. Such is the effort our administrators expend in staying glued to their seats.
Under pressure from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to overhaul its system in order to regain entry into the international body, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) held a Special General Meeting in New Delhi yesterday, but crucially failed to adhere to the IOC’s demand that charge-sheeted individuals must be banned from holding any position in the IOA.
The IOA, which was suspended by the IOC in December last year, came up with suggestions of their own, requesting the latter to disqualify any member who was sentenced to two or more years in prison. For those members who faced imprisonment amounting to less than two years, the IOA suggested that such cases should be left to the discretion of their Ethics Commission. They claimed they would be forming an 11-member commission in the coming seven days.
Were the IOC to accept IOA’s suggestion, the likes of Lalit Bhanot and VK Malhotra, two members who were charge-sheeted along with Suresh Kalmadi for their alleged role in the 2010 Commonwealth Games scam, would get a major reprieve.
Needless to say, IOA’s stand in the marathon meeting did not go down well with people who are leading a campaign against corruption in sport in the country.
“It’s pretty evident, office bearers of the IOA do not want to relinquish their posts. They are willing to go to any lengths to hold on to their seats,” Ashwini Nachappa, president of Clean Sports India told MiD DAY. “Developments in the meeting also suggest these officials are in no hurry to ensure that India’s suspension from the IOC is overturned as soon as possible. They are just resorting to delaying tactics,” she added.
The much-anticipated meeting was also attended by two IOC members, Francisco Elizalde (member of Ethics Commission) and Jerome Poivey (National Olympic Committee Relations Director).
The meeting was chaired by senior member S Raghunathan after president Malhotra, who is recognised by the IOC, boycotted the meet. “The major decision that we took was that those who are convicted for two years and more will not be allowed to continue in IOA and the Olympic movement. It is according to the Representation of the People Act. Matters related to corruption and criminal issues will be referred to the Ethics Commission, which will take a decision in 60 days before referring it to the executive council of the IOA. The IOC members watched and heard our views. They also said that they will communicate them to the IOC,” said Raghunathan. (With agency inputs)
Not 100% happy with IOA, says IOC observer
IOC observer Francisco Elizalde said he was “not 100 percent happy” with the suspended IOA rejecting the clause barring charge-sheeted officials from holding post or running for office.
“The sanctions against those who are charge-sheeted, as proposed by the IOC, was not accepted. So I am not 100 percent happy if you go by the book,” he said.
“The good thing is that instead of rejecting the charge-sheet clause the IOA offered an alternative. This will be referred to the IOC leadership. According to the alternative proposal, it will be left to the local ethics committee to take a call,” said Elizalde.
Why attend meeting when I didn’t call it: Malhotra
IOA acting president VK Malhotra, who is recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), boycotted yesterday’s Special General Meeting saying he “didn’t call it so why attend it”.
Malhotra added that he was upset with the way he was ignored by the IOC, IOA and the Sports Ministry in the whole process.
“I was upset with the way I was ignored in the whole process. Despite being recognised as the IOA president by the IOC, I was not consulted in the whole process. I also didn’t attend the meeting in Lausanne with IOC, IOA and sports ministry,” Malhotra said. — IANS