Zeenews Sports Bureau
New Delhi: The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Wednesday defied the International Olympic Committee (IOC), saying it is going ahead with elections scheduled for today.
On Tuesday, the IOC had suspended the IOA because of government interference in its election process, a development which puts a bar on the country`s Olympic participation.
The decision was largely expected after the IOA decided to go ahead with the elections under the government`s Sports Code, defying the IOC`s diktat to hold the polls under the Olympic Charter.
The IOA is holding its Annual General Meeting (AGM) today to decide the road ahead.
The IOC had said that the IOA cannot hold elections until all pending issues are resolved.
The international body cautioned the IOA that it should not hold elections until its Executive Board decides to lift the Indian’s body’s suspension.
The IOC had earlier said that it decided to ban India as its Olympic body had failed to comply with Olympic Charter and also allowed fielding a tainted official for a top post in the elections.
IOC Director of Communications Mark Adams told a press conference that India was suspended "due to its failure to comply with the Olympic Charter and its statutes and failure to inform the IOC in a timely manner."
Pere Miro, Director of IOC relations with National Olympic Committees, said no Indian athlete will be allowed to take part in any competition under IOC jurisdiction during the suspension.
"The election process has been tarnished since the beginning. Many different interferences, many governmental rules and their own bad interpretation of IOA statutes," said Miro after the first day of IOC`s two-day Executive Board meeting.
"The IOA has lost all the rights covered by the Olympic Charter. Today, for Indian athletes it is not possible to take part in any competition under IOC jurisdiction. The IOC has always had the intention to protect the athletes. But for the moment, there is no exception," Miro said.
The IOC said that the elections of the Indian Olympic Association to be held on Wednesday will also be "null and void" and will not be recognised by the world body.
"They are not entitled to have the elections and if they go ahead this will not be recognised. What is absolutely clear is that what has happened in the past is null and what happens now is the same," Miro said.
IOC`s its Ethics Commission had earlier directed the IOA not to allow Suresh Kalmadi, Lalit Bhanot and V K Verma -- all of whom allegedly involved in Commonwealth Games corruption scandal -- from contesting the elections.
Bhanot is set to be declared elected unopposed for the post of IOA Secretary General in the elections scheduled for tomorrow, though Kalmadi, the outgoing president, has decided not to contest the elections.
Bhanot and Kalmadi were sent to jail but later released on bail in connection with the Commonwealth Games corruption scandal.
Suspension meant that the IOA will stop receiving IOC funding and its officials will be banned from attending Olympic meetings and events. India`s athletes will be barred from competing in Olympic events under their national flag, but they can participate under the IOC banner.
While it`s not clear how much money in total will be withheld from India, Miro noted that each national Olympic body receives about USD 90,000 a year in direct IOC grants. The bodies receive more money on top of that for scholarship, coaching and other development programmes.
(With PTI inputs)