Respect national sentiment, Sports Ministry tells IOC

New Delhi: Determined to go ahead with the
regulation to limit the tenure of sports bosses, the Sports
Ministry today requested International Olympic Committee (IOC)
to respect India`s "national sentiments" and help the
government give the country a "better deal".

The Ministry today shot off a letter to IOC President
Jacques Rogge, explaining why it was necessary to implement
the guideline that limits the tenure of the National Sports
Federation (NSF) presidents to 12 years while secretary and
treasurer would have to take a four-year break after serving
eight years at a stretch and prescribing a retirement age of
70 for all sports administrators.

"We urge you, to respect our national concerns and
sentiments, and assist us, in giving Indian sports, a better
deal, in the 21st century," the Ministry said, soon after
receiving a letter in which the IOC had warned to take
measures against India if the Ministry went ahead with the
regulation that would hurt Indian Olympic Association (IOA)
President Suresh Kalmadi and various NSF chiefs who have been
ruling for more than a decade.

Pointing out that IOC itself had changed rules in 1999
"in order to have a reasonable age limit of 70 years, a
maximum presidential term of 12 years and an office bearer`s
term of 8 years to be followed by a break" the Ministry
wondered why National Olympic Committees (NOC) like IOA were
not made to follow the same.

"...your present position seems to indicate that what is
eminently desirable for the IOC and has been put in place by
the votes of the NOCs, need not be followed by the NOCs
themselves and they may continue to have office bearers of
unacceptable lengths of tenure going on to advanced ages," the
Ministry said.

"Surely the IOC, while not directing, could in the
interest of world sports and the good management of NOCs
advise them to consider the IOCs practice," it said.

"You have indicated that therefore the sole interest you
have is to let them function as they may, elect as they will
and the national governments or the courts of the countries
should not restrain them or guide them...This is to say the
least, a very strange position," the Ministry said.

Lauding IOC`s effort to make a drug-free sports world,
the Ministry wondered how the governing body could ignore
something as significant as clean elections in various NOCs.

"...we are surprised that in such a fundamental matter as
good democracy and clean elections in the NOCs, you do not
wish to take any position except to say that no matter how
unacceptable the situation, the national authorities or courts
of the country are not to look their way," it said.