IOA elections to be held on Dec 5

Sports Ministry shoots off letter to IOC

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) elections have been postponed to December 5.

The elections, which were earlier scheduled on November 25, had to be deferred when the chairman of IOA’s election commission S Y Quraishi resigned on Saturday, the day the scrutiny of the nominations was to take place.

The scrutiny of nominations will now be held on November 24 and withdrawal of nominations from November 25-29. The elections will be held from 2.00 pm onward on the rescheduled day.

The reconstituted election panel, comprising new chairman Justice (retd) Anil Dev Singh, Justice (retd) VK Bali, who is the returning officer, and Justice (retd) J D Kapoor, held a meeting on Tuesday. Justice Bali has also displayed at his office the list of nominations received.

Meanwhile, the sports ministry has shot off a letter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge to “consider” a meeting with its representatives in India and defer the elections till an effort has been made to sort out the issues, stemming from the use of government Sports Code in the elections.

“If you agree to such a meeting could we request that the elections to the IOA be held only after an attempt is made to sort out the issues mutually?” Sports Secretary P K Deb wrote. “I am sure that once such a meeting takes place, the IOC will appreciate the principles behind the Sports Code.”

The IOC has been adamant against the use of sports code, which it feels amounts to government interference. The world body, so far, has dispatched two letters insisting the elections must be held as per the Olympic Charter and the Indian Olympic Association’s constitution.

The ministry’s letter, which was written in response to the IOC’s  letter on November 15, stated that IOC’s objections have been based on the “misinterpretation” or “lack of information” about the provision of the Sports Code.

"The letter seems to imply that implementation of the provisions of Sports Code of Government of India will amount to government interference in IOA affairs. The letter seems to have been written on the basis of misinterpretation or lack of information about the provisions of the Sports Code in India,” the letter said.

The ministry also stressed that government does not want to interfere in the IOA elections and that the Sports Code sought to ensure “fair, transparent” elections in “consonance” with the Olympic Charter. “I would like to clarify that the Government of India has no intentions whatsoever to interfere in the functioning of the IOA.

“The code in fact enshrines the principles contained in the Olympic Charter and that is why even the courts of law in India have endorsed the code.”

The sports ministry’s letter also accused the IOA of failing to amend its constitution in line with the Olympic Charter.

"The issue is less about the Sports Code and more about the failure of the Indian Olympic Association to adhere to the principles of good governance and its failure to amend its constitution to bring it in line with the Olympic Charter.

 "In this connection, may I draw your attention to the discussions that were held at Lausanne on 18th June, 2010 followed by the assurance by IOC vide your letter dated August 10, 2010 that IOA is complying with the commitments it made in the meeting in Lausanne.

As a matter of fact, IOA did not fulfil its commitments and did not amend its constitution in accordance with even the draft vetted by IOC.”

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