Who so ever thought that the change of guard at the helm of International Olympic Committee will be bring joy to Indian Olympic Association’s ongoing fight to be apart of the olympic movement is a either a highly over optimistic person or a tainted member of one of the many Olympic Sport Associations of India.
The IOA was suspended by the IOC in December 2012 after holding an election that resulted in the appointment as secretary general of Lalit Bhanot, who spent 11 months in custody in 2011 following corruption charges that hit the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. The IOC had been angered by government interference in the elections and subsequently held talks with the IOA to reform its governance, most recently setting a deadline of today for the IOA to ban all tainted officials from contesting its elections.
IOA’s tainted officials have been annoying for often showing a laid back attitude and in typical style have been letting go of the decision to a certain extent ignoring it. While the IOA officials thought it will all be side tracked came a big blow to their plans when IOC president Thomas Bach warned that India faced expulsion from the Olympics unless it got its house in order. IOC was prepared to withdraw recognition of the IOA if it failed to comply with “rules of good governance” by 09th December.
However to the joy of Indian olympians present and future and to all sports loving Indians IOA finally had to give in to IOC demands and agreed to comply with the IOC rules “We’ve amended the constitution. Once the amendment is accepted (by IOC), they’d revoke the suspension so that we can conduct a fresh election.” According to the amendment, officials with serious corruption charges against their names would be suspended if they do not resign, while they cannot contest IOA elections said IOA official S. Reghunathan.
However Abhay Singh Chautala the expelled told NDTV sports site, “We have done this only for the sake of the country and our athletes. We still don’t agree to the IOC’s chargesheet clause, because that is not the law of our country. You can check with all IOA members, we did this only after pressure from the IOC. This is only why we have agreed to amend our constitution.”
The IOA is now seeking to hold fresh elections on February 9, with Reghunathan admitting that change was crucial ahead of a year which includes the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and Asian Games in Incheon. “We want Indian athletes to compete under the Indian flag,” he said, according to Reuters. Only time will tell what tactics our tainted official’s deploy in order to to take control of their lost legacy or has IOC clipped their wings for good.
Just for information South Africa was the last nation to be expelled for its racial segregation policies more than 40 years ago. Imagine if India was to be expelled on the basis of corruption.
As a sports fan I hope that the rotten apples are thrown out of the IOA basket and we abstain from Flirting with danger called IOC.