IOA pledges commitment to Olympic Charter in letter to IOC



 IOA pledges commitment to Olympic Charter in letter to IOCNew Delhi: Indian Olympic Association has pledged firm commitment to Olympic Charter and to fight against government interference in the wake of its parent body`s threat of disaffiliation if it goes ahead with its upcoming elections under Sports Ministry guidelines.

IOA acting chief V K Malhotra has written to International Olympic Committee that the December 5 elections are being held under IOA Constitution as none of the nominations have been rejected under government`s Sports Code.

"Our Constitution does not adhere to government guidelines in election of Executive Committee and office bearers. IOA appointed a three-member election commission consisting of two retired Chief Justices of High Court and one retired High Court judge to conduct free and fair elections," he wrote to IOC chief Jacques Rogge in reply to world body`s letter to propose IOA`s disaffiliation if the elections are held under government guidelines.

"The election commission has informed me that none of the nominations have been rejected on account of government guidelines. All the nominations have been filed strictly and scrutinised in accordance with the Constitution of Indian Olympic Association," he said.

"Kindly be assured that the autonomy of the IOA shall be preserved and protected and no interference of any economic, political angle shall be permitted. The IOA firmly gives commitment to you that the elections are being held and will be held preserving the Olympic Charter," said Malhotra who wrote separate but identical letters to Olympic Council of Asia chief Sheikh Al Sabah.

In a separate letter to IOC Director General Christophe de Kepper, Malhotra sought for a meeting of IOA representatives -- Narinder Batra and R K Anand -- with IOC officials on December 4 and also requested him to invite Indian government officials to resolve the issue.

On November 23, Rogge and Al Sabah had written to the IOA threatening to propose disaffiliation before the IOC Executive Board Meeting on December 4-5 if the Indian body goes ahead with its elections under the government guidelines. The IOC then re-iterated its threat in another letter written by de Kepper on November 26.

Malhotra sought to put the blame on the government for creating the vexed code dispute which had led to international parent body`s threat to suspend it from the Olympic family.

"The IOA at all times has been against the government`s Sports Code/Guidelines. In this connection, a meeting was held in the office of the IOC in 2010 which was attended by Government of India officials and IOA.

"During the meeting it was vehemently argued and contested that the government guidelines are contrary to IOA Constitution on the principle of IOA autonomy and was violation of Olympic Charter as well as legally untenable. In the presence of IOC officials the government conceded that they would withdraw the guidelines and would not like to enforce to IOA," he wrote.

The IOA said that it would like to join hands with the IOC to resolve the issue so as to see that the government withdraw the Guidelines/Sports Code.

"... The Prime Minister of India had assured that since the Bill is being opposed by all political parties, it will not be placed before the Parliament... During the Cabinet Meeting, a number of Cabinet Ministers opposed the proposed legislation and thereafter the legislation was practically put under cold storage ... The same has not been proposed. Even on two earlier occasions, such attempts before the Parliament were rejected", the letter said.

"It is also very heartening to note that the Government has already written a letter dated 21.11.2012 addressed to you that they are willing to resolve the issue by having a meeting with the officials of the IOC and the office bearers of the IOA," Malhotra said.

Malhotra informed the IOC that the IOA had even challenged the government`s Sports Code in the Delhi High Court.

"We would also like to record that not only we have forced the government not to pass the legislation but we have gone ahead and challenged the government guidelines/Sports Code on the court of law by filing a writ petition in Delhi High Court. The said writ petition is coming up for hearing before the Delhi High Court on 17th December 2012."

PTI