IOA-Sports Ministry tussle over tenure limitation continues

New Delhi: Nearly two weeks after their meeting with IOC officials in Lausanne, IOA and the government continued to wrangle over the tenure limitation issue with the sports body on Thursday claiming that the matter is a “closed chapter” while the Sports Ministry maintained that it will stick to its guidelines.

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) claimed that the June 18 meeting with International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials had gone in their favour and asked the government not to interfere in the functioning of the National Sports Federations (NSF) anymore.

“Whatever has happened has happened, now it is a closed chapter for us. I feel there should not be any more debate on this issue from Thursday. I don’t think now there would be any interference from the government’s side,” Randhir told reporters.

“During last month’s meeting, IOC made it very clear that the autonomy of the National Olympic Committees cannot be infringed. The Executive Board of IOC was very satisfied with the outcome of the meeting but also stressed that IOC will continue to monitor the situation and will ensure that Olympic Charter is respected,” he said.

But the Sports Ministry strongly contested Randhir’s claims, saying that there was no change in its stance.

“Nothing has changed. The government order of May 1, 2010 continues to stand. The next date of hearing before the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court is on August 18,” a ministry spokesman said.

The tug-of-war between IOA and the Sports Ministry over the guidelines -- which fixes the term of the sports bosses in the country -has been going on for quite sometime.

The matter even reached IOC, which addressed the issue at a meeting with both the parties in Lausanne last month.

Asked what if the Sports Ministry refused to stop funding the NSFs, Randhir said, “If the government wants to stick to their stand and stop promoting sportspersons, good luck to them.”

Randhir also said that IOA had already adopted steps to ensure “good governance” in the functioning of the national federations and it has nothing to do with the tenure limitation.

“They (Sports Ministry) don’t have to teach us good governance. We ourselves are aware about it and are trying to sort out things. We are bringing in CAS (Court of Arbitration), athletes commission, ethics commission. We are in final stages of formulating these things,” he said.

“Our point is that there should be no power from outside interfering in the functioning of IOA. I as secretary general of IOA cannot interfere in the functioning of NSFs,” said Randhir.

Randhir, who is also the secretary general of Olympic Council of Asia, even distributed copies of OCA president Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah and Commonwealth Federation chief Mike Fennel’s letters, supporting IOA on the issue.

IOA Disputes and Affiliation Commission chairman R K Anand, who was part of the Randhir-led delegation in Lausanne, said amending the constitution for good governance has nothing to do with the tenure limitation guidelines.

“Olympic Charter clearly says that autonomy of IOA should be maintained. It is not that the government can direct you to amend the constitution. Once they do it, it is an infringement on autonomy,” said Anand, who is also a renowned lawyer.


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