New Delhi: In a new twist to controversial elections of the IOA, the International Olympic Committee on Friday warned of a possible ban on the national sports body if government regulations are followed in its poll on December 5.
In a joint letter to IOA acting president Vijay Kumar Malhotra and secretary general Randhir Singh, who himself is a presidential candidate, IOC and OCA chiefs Jacques Rogge and Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah have asked the national Olympic body to clarify its stand by November 30, failing which the IOC will be forced to take a tough stand.
"From the letter of 19 November, it is our understanding that IOA is unable to confirm that IOA`s elections will be held strictly in accordance with the rules of the Olympic Charter and the IOA`s constitution currently in force. On the contrary, it is mentioned that the government regulations shall apply for the IOA`s elections, thus ignoring the Olympic Charter and the IOA`s constitution," the joint letter said.
"From the letter of 21 November, we understand that the IOA strongly condemns those government regulations and government interference in IOA`s election process. However, the IOA seems to continue developing its election process on the basis established by the government regulations.
"The situation is therefore extremely confusing, not to say contradictory, since, on the one hand, the IOA is claiming that the government regulations derived from the `Sports Code` interfere with the election process and are not acceptable; however, on the other hand, the IOA is saying that it is bound by those government regulations and will continue proceeding with the IOA elections on the basis of those regulations," the letter said.
The letter invited the IOA and the government authorities to refer to the applicable rules of the Olympic Charter in relation to the specific matter.
"Unless you rectify the situation with immediate effect and give a clear and and written guarantees to the IOC to ensure that the elections be held strictly on the basis of the Olympic Charter and the IOA`s constitution, we inform you that a proposal for suspension of your NOC will be presented to to the IOC Executive Board at its next meeting on 4-5 December 2012, based on Rules 27.9 and 59.1.4 of the Olympic Charter," Rogge and Al Sabah said in their joint letter.
"In this case, the IOA would be invited to provide all necessary explanations and to present its position in writing to the IOC no later than 30 November 2012."
The IOC has also taken a dig at IOA for not clarifying its stand on the contentious issue before hand.
"As you are well aware, the IOC and OCA have objected on numerous occasions, and for more than two years, to the government regulations being imposed upon the IOA. In order to be as constructive as possible, the IOC has clearly identified the specific provisions of the government regulations that are not compatible with the principles and rules of the Olympic Charter in an opinion rendered on 10 June 2011 (which was was sent again to the IOA on 13 June 2012)," the letter read.
"Unfortunately, the IOC and OCA`s position has been either ignored or challenged and the problem has not been resolved in due time by the responsible authoroties and institutions.
"Now we understand that, although the IOA has freely decided not to reflect the Government regulations (or some of them) in the IOA`s constitution currently in force, it is being faced with a local situation where it has no choice but to implement and apply those Government regulations for the IOA`s elections," it said.
Both Rogge and Al Sabah have questioned IOA`s handling of the entire matter, and criticsed the national Olympic body for not informing IOC about Delhi High Court`s order to follow government regulations in elections.
"In addition, this raises many questions and doubts as to the IOA`s responsibility in the current situation. Indeed, for more than two years, the IOA has obviously failed to play an active role in defending the principles of the Olympic Charter and in entering into a real and constructive dialogue with the relevant government authorities to ensure that this matter is resolved in a satisfactory manner in line with the IOC and OCA position," they said in the letter.
"Lately, the IOA has failed to inform the IOC and OCA in due time of this conflictive issue on the applicable rules for the IOA elections, and in particular has not informed the IOC and OCA of the order from the Delhi High Court on 13 September 2012 by which the IOA is now saying that it is bound.
"The IOA has therefore neglected a number of fundamental duties and responsibilities of an NOC as provided in the Olympic Charter. Now, the IOA cannot, on the one hand, reject in principle the government regulations and decide not to reflect them in the IOA`s constitution and, on the other hand, accept to be bound by those government regulations and continue developing its election process on that basis," the letter said.
The letter added that the IOA should be consistent with its own position by either freely accepting the government regulations provided they are compatible with the Olympic Charter, or, staright forwardly rejecting them.
"The IOA has therefore been unable to make the appropriate, responsible and consistent decision in due time and, as a result, is now face with this situation," Rogge and Al Sabah said.
"Consequently, for these reasons also, the IOA is exposing itself to the measures and sanctions provided in Rule 59.1.4 of the Olympic Charter," the letter said.
The letter added that IOC will not recognise the upcoming elections of IOA if it is held under the government regulations.
"Though it is necessary for the IOA to hold its regular quadrennial election process, this election process cannot take place on an incorrect basis and in such a confusing context," it said.
"Should the IOA decide to hold elections on a basis other than the Olympic Charter and IOA`s constitution, the results of such elections would not be recognised by the IOC and OCA."
The much-awaited IOA elections has run into rough weather since its declaration.
While there is a bitter war of words going on between two factions, led by secretary general Randhir Singh and Boxing federation supremo Abhey Singh Chautala, the election, orginally scheduled for November 25, has already been postponed after chairman of the three-member poll committee, SY Quraishi resigned from the post.
The polls were later rescheduled for December 5 after IOA re-constituted the three-member election commission by appointing Justice Anil Dev Singh, Retired Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court, as its new chairman.