Indian Olympic Association P.T. Usha. MONEY SHARMA/AFP via Getty Images

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) is in disarray with President P.T. Usha at loggerheads with its Executive Committee (EC). The row follows attempts by a majority of the EC to reverse Usha's "unilateral" appointment of CEO Raghuram Iyer in January.

Usha is one of India's most decorated athletes having won four Asian Games gold medals and finished fourth in the 400m hurdles at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games. She was appointed IOA President in December 2022, but controversy has dogged her tenure in recent months.

Eleven members of the EC, including London 2012 Olympic bronze medal-winning wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt, co-signed a letter to Usha last month detailing a number of allegations and encouraging her to "take appropriate corrective actions". The first concerns the appointment of CEO Iyer who filled the year-long vacancy "despite the express dissent of the Majority of the EC members".

It adds, "It is beyond our comprehension as to how Iyer has been mischievously posing as the CEO of IOA for the past 3 months without any authority whatsoever and is illegally utilising the assets of IOA with your approval and under your aegis." In February, the EC suspended Iyer and declared his appointment "null and void".

The 11 EC members go on to criticise the IOA for entering into sponsorship contracts "without following due process" or "basic due diligence". They then slam Usha's "unilateral acts of arbitrarily appointing an ad-hoc committee for the Sport of Ski and Snowboard and the shocking dissolution of the ad-hoc committee of Wrestling without consultation, discussion, approval and the necessary ratification by the EC" which it claims demonstrate "utter ignorance of the established governance structures as per the constitution of the IOA". The Wrestling ad-hoc committee, formed last December, was not approved by United World Wrestling and potentially violated the Olympic Charter.

Also attracting the EC's ire was the "appointment of key officials" for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games without consultation, showing Usha's "bias and favouritism towards certain individuals", and a perceived lack of transparency regarding candidates for Olympic Solidarity programmes again without consultation with the EC. One of those key officials, boxing hero Mary Kom, has since stepped down from her role of Chef de Mission for personal reasons.

As well as CEO Iyer, the EC voted for the removal Usha's executive assistant Ajay Narang last month and pasted a notice on IOA headquarters barring "unauthorised persons", ie. Iyer and Narang, from entering. In the letter, the EC accuses Usha of unauthorised spending of IOA funds on Iyer and Narang "despite the disapproval of the Finance Committee". It also blames the pair's actions for the resignation of IOA vice-president Rajlaxmi Singh Deo and treasurer Sahdev Yadav from their roles overseeing preparations for Paris 2024.

In response to the "unauthorised persons" notice, Usha told EC members, "It is disheartening to see that we are still not able to work as a team and each of your acts is an attempt to sideline me. I am left with no option but to remind you all that the day-to-day administrative functions including hiring and firing of staff is not the job of the Executive Council."

Usha visited Olympic House in Lausanne this week with Iyer and Narang believed to be among her entourage, a move which would further enrage the EC.

The timing of the row could scarcely be less convenient. With treasurer Yadav among the EC members openly clashing with Usha, it means no financial requests - including those for Paris 2024 arrangements - can be signed off.

The letter to Usha concludes, "We humbly request you to call an emergency EC meeting and have all matters regarding the upcoming Olympic Games and above mentioned points put up in the agenda and cleared immediately. We do not want any delay in any matters relating to the upcoming Olympic Games. We have been requesting this for a long time now and strongly urge you to take this action urgently in the best interest of our Nation."