By Tom Degun

Indian Olympic Association logoJanuary 14 - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has called on the suspended Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to hold new elections under the Olympic Charter if they want to see their suspension lifted.

The IOA were suspended last month by the IOC Executive Board for not holding elections under the rules of the Olympic Charter and instead by the Government's controversial Sports Code, which they had been directed to do by the High Court in New Delhi.

The suspended IOA is currently being led by Abhay Singh Chautala, who was the sole candidate for the position of President, but the IOC is refusing to deal with him.

Instead they have written to V K Malhotra, who was the acting IOA President before the controversial elections took place, and to India's International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Randhir Singh.

Singh was originally a candidate for IOA President but withdrew from the race against Chautala after it was announced the elections would be held outside of the rules of the Olympic Charter, which favours autonomy.

VKThe IOC are dealing primarily with V K Malhotra who was the acting IOA President before the controversial elections took place last month

"The suspended IOA must be in a position to hold free, fair, transparent and credible elections without any external interference and exclusively on the basis of Olympic Charter and IOA's Constitution," said the IOC letter signed by IOC director of National Olympic Committee (NOC) relations Pere Miro and Olympic Council of Asia director general and technical director Husain Al-Musallam.

"For that purpose, relevant Government authorities definitively amend or repeal any Government regulations or laws which interfere with autonomous functioning and internal operations.

"The suspended IOA must review its own constitution and internal regulations and make any necessary amendments, in close collaboration with the IOC and subject to IOC's approval, to improve its internal governance and include proper and concrete mechanisms to ensure good governance at all levels and implement all basic ethical principles.

"The conditions are a prerequisite for the IOC Executive Board to consider lifting the suspension of the IOA.

The IOC also proposed a meeting with Malhotra, who they still see as the legitimate IOA representative.

"In order to start working closely together for the purpose of achieving the objectives and establishing a clear roadmap with deadlines, it is hereby proposed to hold a first joint meeting in Lausanne with you and a senior representative of the Government of India as soon as possible," said the letter.

"We look forward to receiving your acceptance of the above-noted actions and process, and, should this be the case, we would be happy to organise this joint meeting as soon as possible and extend an invitation to you and to the Government of India."

The Chautala-led IOA officials have been asking the IOC for a meeting since he took office in the elections at the beginning of last month but the request has not been accepted as they are seen as illegitimate office bearers by the Olympic governing body.

The IOC are also set to ask the international federations to take action against the National Sports Federations in India who associate with the Chautala-led dispensation.

"The IOC and OCA have been following the increasingly confusing situation surrounding the suspended IOA, caused by the irresponsible attitude of a number of illegitimate individuals purporting to act on behalf of the suspended IOA in violation of all IOC decisions and the Olympic Charter," added the letter.

"The members of the suspended IOA must not associate themselves with these illegitimate individuals or interact with them in any manner whatsoever.

"In particular, the national federations must not attend any meeting convened by these individuals, who do not represent the suspended IOA.

"In the event that any federation associates itself with these individuals, in violation of IOC's decisions and Olympic Charter, the IOC will ask the International Federation concerned to take necessary action."

Abhay-ChautalaAbhay Singh Chautala is considered illegitimate as the IOA President by the IOC

The IOC also authorised Malhotra and Singh "to take all necessary measures" against Chautala and the other office bearers "at the national level, including any appropriate legal action, to stop their illegal activities with immediate effect and to protect the interests and assets of the suspended IOA."

"The irresponsible behaviour of these individuals is serving only to aggravate the situation of the suspended IOA by adding unnecessary complications, thereby delaying the resolution of the pending issues.

"They must be held responsible for that before the athletes and the Olympic and Sports Movement in India."

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