New Delhi: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has again invited representatives of the suspended IOA and Sports Ministry for a meeting in Lausanne on May 7 in yet another attempt to find a way for India`s return to the Olympic movement even as the stand-off between the government and sport body persisted.
After the joint meeting, which was earlier scheduled to be held in Lausanne on April 15 and 16, was postponed for the second time in two months last week due to the stand-off between the IOA and the government, the Indian Olympic Association acting chief V K Malhotra had sought directions from its world parent body on how to resolve the matter.
Responding to Malhotra`s request, IOC`s National Olympic Committee relations director Pere Miro, in his letter to IOA said, "It is very surprising that you request our guidance as to what action you should take since we have made it clear since January this year that the only way to find a solution is for all parties to meet, discuss and agree on a roadmap.
"For that purpose we invited you to a meeting in Lausanne and proposed concrete dates. However, you did not reply to our invitation.
"Now we hereby call for a meeting to be held on 7 May 2013 in Lausanne," he wrote.
The IOC also requested the IOA to confirm its attendance by April 16. The IOC also wrote a separate letter to the Sports Minister.
"You or the competent bodies of the suspended IOA are requested to confirm your attendance as well as the names and functions of the persons who will form the delegation of the suspended IOA by 16 April at the latest," he said.
The letter also said that the IOC will invite the Sports Minister Jitendra Singh to attend the meeting.
"We will also extend an official invitation to the Sports Minister Mr. Jitendra Singh," it said.
Miro added that the purpose of the meeting would be the same as was mentioned in the IOC`s letter, dated March 1, 2013.
In the March 1 letter, the IOC said it wanted to follow up on its previous letter of 14 January 2013 and renew its invitation to IOA to come to Lausanne together with the Sports Minister of India for a joint meeting with the IOC and OCA.
"To that effect, we hereby request that you agree with the Sports Minister on a suitable date to come to Lausanne, which should be no later than 31 March 2013, and that you submit a concrete proposal to us by the end of next week. As soon as we agree on a date, we will of course extend an official invitation to the Sports Minister," the letter had stated.
"It is indeed the intention of the IOC and OCA to resolve all pending issues as soon as possible, together with the Sports Minister and the suspended IOA.
"The main purpose of this meeting will be to agree on an action plan and a roadmap, with clear deadlines, to sort out all pending issues and to allow for free, fair, democratic and transparent elections within the IOA on the basis of a revised IOA Constitution and the Olympic Charter, without any outside interference," it had said.
However, the meeting had to be put off as the government and IOA could not come to a compromise on the contentious age and tenure restrictions and some other issues.
Malhotra had said in his the letter that the action of the Sports Ministry of appointing a committee to re-draft the controversial Sports Code negated the very purpose of having a joint meeting of the IOC, IOA and the government.
"We appreciate your concern for an early solution to the problem but we are rather constrained to say that the Ministry of Sports, Government of India is bent on destroying autonomy of the IOA and the National Sports Federations. The same is not acceptable to us," Malhotra had written in the letter addressed to IOC chief Jacques Rogge.
"While we endorsed your move for a dialogue involving the government, it has gone ahead and constituted a committee to re-draft the controversial sports bill, which is in total breach of the Olympic Charter," Malhotra added.
He had claimed that the government was trying to give a new colour to the Sports Code that was the cause of IOA's ban.