IOC moves closer to lifting Olympic suspension on India
Wednesday, 15 May 2013
May 15 - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has moved closer to lifting its Olympic Games suspension on the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) following "fruitful meetings" in Lausanne today.
The IOC Executive Board suspended the IOA on December 4 last year due to its failure to comply with the Olympic Charter and because of Government interference in the IOA's election process.
The elections saw Abhay Singh Chautala voted in as President and tainted Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games official Lalit Bhanot named as secretary general in a move that incurred the wrath of the IOC.
The meeting in Lausanne was designed to explore the possibility for the suspended IOA to hold new democratic and transparent elections on the basis of a revised IOA constitution and the Olympic Charter, with no outside interference, that could pave the way for the IOC to consider lifting its suspension.
The meeting at the IOC headquarters involved a delegation from the Indian Sports Ministry, headed by the country's Sports Minister Jitendra Singh.
It also included representatives from the National Federations of India, who are also members of the suspended IOA, and a representative of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA).
"Sports Minister Singh gave strong guarantees and a clear commitment that the Government of India will fully respect the principle of autonomy of the Olympic Movement," read an IOC statement.
"In addition, a mutual understanding was reached to establish close cooperation between all parties concerned.
"It was agreed in particular that the drafting of the new sports bill will be undertaken in close coordination with the IOA and the National Federations, and with prior consultation with the IOC to ensure that it will be fully compatible with the principles and rules of the Olympic Movement."
Despite making progress in the meeting, the IOC said that a number of steps must still be taken for the suspension to be lifted and that there is "a roadmap" that they must follow.
"Following these meetings and subsequent consultation with all the parties involved, the IOC is considering the necessary measures to be taken before lifting the suspension," said the statement.
"In particular, it is envisaged that the IOA should hold an extraordinary meeting of its members to review its constitution in order to improve its governance and ethics.
"This would be followed by a fresh general meeting to elect the new office-bearers of the IOA, based on the newly revised constitution and the Olympic Charter.
"The entire process will be closely monitored and supervised by the IOC, which will issue a roadmap for the suspended IOA and all its members to follow."
Singh said he was pleased with the outcome of the meeting.
"The roadmap has been decided to bring India back in the Olympic fold," he explained.
"Our meeting went off well and the IOA, IOC and the Indian Government are all on the same page."
It is likely that the new IOA elections will take place in the coming weeks.
December 2012: India suspended from Olympics by IOC over election row
December 2012: India facing Olympic suspension after tainted official moves from jail to top role
November 2012: Singh withdraws candidature for President of Indian Olympic Association
November 2012: Indian Olympic Association appoints new scrutineer for election but bitterness continues
November 2012: Rows continue over Indian Olympic Association elections