IOA's constitution not aligned with Olympic Charter: Ministry

Government today termed IOA's suspension as "unfortunate" and said the International Olympic Committee's decision to attribute suspension to Government interference in the IOA's election process was "entirely misplaced".

The Ministry insisted that it was not the Sports Code, but IOA's constitution, which was not aligned with the Olympic Charter.

"The IOA had agreed to amend its constitution in 2010, but has failed to bring about the necessary amendments in the past two years. Had this been done, there would have been no cause for intervention by the IOC," a statement from the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports said.

The Ministry clarified that National Sports Development Code included such age and tenure guidelines for office-bearers of sports bodies as are enshrined in the Olympic Charter itself.

"They are similar to the practices followed by the IOC and are drawn from the Constitution of the IOC and have been upheld by the Courts of Law in India. All that the Sports Code seeks to achieve is to ensure that the election of the IOA and others sports bodies are fair, transparent and in consonance with the Olympic Charter," the statement said.

The Ministry reiterated that it was ready to discuss with the IOC and the IOA all issues related to the Sports Code and its compatibility with the Olympic Charter.

"Government will take all possible measures to protect the interests of Indian sportspersons so that they can continue to participate in international sports meets under the Indian National Flag."

The statement also indicated that the Sports Minister Jitendra Singh was "ready to hold discussions with all stakeholders, including the National Sports Federations, the eminent sportspersons, persons from civil society, etc in order to chart a way out of the situation created by the action of the IOC".

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 if granted permission by the world body.

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