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Indian Olympic Association’s acting chief Vijay Kumar Malhotra. Photo: Hindustan Times (Hindustan Times)
Indian Olympic Association’s acting chief Vijay Kumar Malhotra. Photo: Hindustan Times
(Hindustan Times)

India moves closer to International Olympic Committee suspension

IOC reiterates that the IOA faces sanctions unless it resolves the issues surrounding next week’s elections

New Delhi: The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) was warned again on Wednesday that it faces imminent suspension by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) because of government interference in its elections.

The IOC reiterated in a letter that the Indian body faces sanctions unless it resolves the issues surrounding next Wednesday’s elections. The letter called on IOA officials to explain their position by Friday.

The IOC has been urging the Indians to adhere to their own constitution and the Olympic Charter and not follow a contentious government sports code.

“The IOC and OCA (Olympic Council of Asia) will not send delegates to India at this stage," the IOC said in the letter, which was distributed to the media. “From your letter of 26 November, we came to the conclusion that the IOA and the government authorities are unable to rectify the situation in order for the IOA elections to be conducted in line with the Olympic Charter and the IOA constitution, as required by the IOC."

The letter said India’s proposed suspension would come up before the IOC executive board at its meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, next Wednesday and Thursday. The letter was sent by IOC director general Christophe de Kepper to IOA acting chief Vijay Kumar Malhotra.

Suspension would mean a halt to IOC funding and a ban on Indian officials from attending Olympic meetings and events. India’s athletes would also be barred from competing in the Olympics under their national flag, although the IOC could allow them to take part under the Olympic flag.

The Indian body has been mired in wrangling over the elections to replace tainted official Suresh Kalmadi, who was jailed for nine months on corruption charges related to the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi before being granted bail. Kalmadi, who headed the IOA for 16 years, decided not to seek re-election but his close aide Lalit Bhanot is running for secretary-general, even though he was also jailed last year for corruption related to the Commonwealth Games.

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