IOC talks tough; India to remain suspended from Olympics

by Sep 5, 2013

India’s suspension from the Olympics will continue as the International Olympic Committee has held firm on its stance barring charge-sheeted officials from taking part in administration or contesting elections.

The Indian Olympic Association had refused to accept the clause, which calls for any official charged with a crime to step down from his post, saying it would contradict Indian law, which does not require politicians charged with crimes to step down from Parliament.

India's athletes still can't compete under the Indian flag. Reuters

India's athletes still can't compete under the Indian flag. Reuters

The IOA had instead said it would accept the banning of any official convicted of a crime and given a sentence of more than two years. Anything else would be referred to an Ethics committee that it would convene. But this has not satisfied the IOC.

“The EB (Executive Body) heard a report that [the IOA’s General Assembly] had approved most of the amendments to the IOA’s constitution requested by the IOC, but one specific clause had not been adopted,” the IOC said in a statement. “This clause, which deals specifically with the eligibility of members, is key to the good governance of the NOC and needs to be fully accepted before the suspended IOA can proceed with the elections.

“An official notification of the IOC’s position will be sent to the IOA.”

The IOC’s Executive Board met on Wednesday ahead of the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires to discuss a range of issues.

The IOA was suspended back in December 2012 after Lalit Bhanot, who is facing corruption charges linked to the scandal-hit New Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010, was elected secretary-general of the IOA. The elections were also held under contentions circumstances, with the Delhi High Court ruling the IOA had to follow the norms set by the proposed Sports Bill, rather than its own constitution.

After the suspension, the IOA initially continued to function as if nothing was wrong, with multiple meetings between the Indian association, the IOC and India’s sports ministry being scheduled and then called off. Eventually the three parties met to figure out how India could return to the Olympic fold. The IOC sent a revised constitution to the IOA, stating that it would need to be accepted in full before India could be reinstated.

However, at its meeting on August 25, the IOA rejected the clause requiring that charge-sheeted members step down, choosing only to bar those who had been convicted.

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