IOA rejects tenure regulations, Kalmadi called `dictator`

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 18, 2010 - 20:18

New Delhi: A defiant Indian Olympic
Association on Tuesday spurned Sports Ministry`s tenure limitation
guidelines even though there was a voice of dissent against
IOA President Suresh Kalmadi`s "dictator-like" functioning.

IOA`s general body and the Executive Council, which met
at the Olympic Bhawan here, ruled out amending constitution to
accommodate tenure limitation for its office-bearers as is
wished by the Sports Ministry.

"The Special General Body unanimously resolved that IOA
and NSFs would decline to accept the Government guidelines to
protect their autonomy in accordance with IOC Charter and
International Federations` Statutes," the IOA said in a
statement.

"No steps will be initiated by IOA/any NSF to amend their
Constitution to incorporate any provisions/ part of these
Guidelines as this will be seriously in breach of the Olympic
Charter and render the IOA/NSFs vulnerable to suspension and
deprive their teams from International participation," it
added.

The IOA`s claim of an "unanimous" rejection of the
government regulation notwithstanding, Kalmadi had his moment
of embarrassment when Cycling Federation of India (CFI)
President SS Dhindsa rose to address the gathering.

"I hope the (IOA) President would not mind. I have been
around for long and at times, the President functions like a
dictator," he said.

Dhindsa, named Chairman of the Olympic Village Committee,
was particularly unhappy with his nominations for committee
members being ignored.

"Besides, I`m the chief of the Olympic Village Committee
Committee and I have no clue that someone already has been
appointed the Mayor of the Games Village," said a sulking
Dhindsa.

He also doubted how long the organisers would be able to
withstand the government pressure.

"Here we have some Congress leaders and I`m not sure how
long they can withstand the pressure from the government," he
added.

Dhindsa`s outburst against Kalmadi notwithstanding, the
IOA completely ignored Sports Ministry`s advise to discuss the
tenure limitation issue in today`s meeting.

The Ministry wants to fix the IOA and NSF President`s
tenure at 12 years with or without the break. The secretary
generals and the treasurers` tenure is fixed at eight years at
a stretch by the the ministry regulations, which also
advocates a retirement age of 70.

If implemented, the regulation would end the reign of
Kalmadi and NSF chiefs including VK Malhotra (archery),
Jagdish Tytler (judo) and Dhindsa, along others.

IOA, however, enjoys the backing of both the
International Olympic Committee and the Olympic Council of
Asia (OCA) while the Sports Ministry has offered to send an
official to IOC headquarters in Switzerland to sort out the
issue.

In his speech, Kalmadi said that the guidelines are an
assault on the IOA and NSFs` autonomy.

"It is time to correct some impressions that the Ministry
of Youth Affairs and Sports has created," Kalmadi said.

"First and foremost, the Olympic Charter states clearly
that only the National Olympic Committee has the right to
decide the terms of office for the office-bearers and
executive members," he said.

He also sought to dismiss the notion that IOA and NSFs
were wasting public money, alleging the Sports Ministry
created this impression by showing as grants to NSFs the money
spent on training the athletes.

Lashing out at Sports Ministry`s letter to IOC in which
they sought a meeting, Kalmadi said, "A Joint Secretary
writing about it to the IOC President, we cannot have this
kind of arrogance."

IOA Secretary General Randhir Singh, who is an IOC member
and the Olympic Council of Asia`s Secretary-General, said if
the Ministry continued to insist on imposing the guidelines on
IOA and NSFs, India could be left out of the Olympic Movement.

Parliamentarian Tarlochan Singh rejected Ministry`s
claims that the Parliament had backed the decision to impose
the guidelines.

"During a discussion in the Rajya Sabha on the working of
the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports on April 22, 2010,
just two of the 21 members made any mention of tenures of
office-bearers of National Sports Federations. To say that
Parliament was seized of the issue is to paint a false
picture," he said.

IOA senior vice-President and Archery Federation of India
chief V K Malhotra called the Ministry`s guidelines
"draconian".

The IOA said the government can appoint its own officials
to disburse the money set aside for athletes` training if it
didn`t want the IOA`s involvement.

"Sports Authority of India (SAI) with over 200 Officers
and staff on which the Ministry spends Rs 20 crore every
year including on Teams Wing, will be proposed for disbursing
the funds. The Government spends directly on the athletes as a
part of its social responsibility for which the Parliament
makes a sanction in the budget," the IOA said.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, May 18, 2010 - 20:18

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