IOC wants more clarity in IOA's amendment

IOC wants more clarity in IOA's amendment

'Ethics panel mustn't have powers to clear charge-framed officials'

In a bid to ensure absolute clarity on the constitutional amendments carried out by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to bar charged-framed officials, the International Olympic Committee on Friday directed the IOA to make it clear that those officials would not be reinstated by its ethics panel so long as they faced charges framed by a court.

In its amendment, the IOA had said the charge-framed officials will be provisionally suspended and will not be eligible to contest in elections and the case will be referred to IOA’s ethics commission for further guidance. In a letter, the IOC Director General Christophe De Kepper asked the IOA to properly ratify all the interpretations in their next meeting failing which the governing body reserved the right to impose necessary sanctions. 

The letter detailed a list of clauses that the IOC expects the Indian body to implement, specifically pointing to the part where IOA had stated that the case regarding charge-framed officials will be referred to its ethics panel. IOC made it clear that the ethics panel should not have the right to reinstate a member if he still faced charges framed by a court.

The IOC letter said:  “The member (charge-sheeted person) concerned must resign immediately (and, if not, will be provisionally suspended) and will not be eligible to run for election. This mechanism must be implemented automatically and will be valid for as long as the charges are framed by the court, as mentioned in this clause.”

On the clause that the ‘case will then be referred to the IOA’s ethics commission,’ De Kepper said it must be made clear that such an eventuality does not call into question the suspension imposed. Also, he said, it must be made apparent that such a move does not give any authority to the ethics commission to recommend to clear or reinstate a member if that member is still faced with charges framed by the court.

De Kepper said the ethics commission may recommend further sanctions against the member but it cannot reduce, soften or dilute the automatic sanctions mentioned in this clause for as long as the charges are framed by the court. The letter made it clear that if the clause is interpreted or implemented differently, the IOC “reserves the right to take the necessary measures and/or sanctions”.

“The IOC will now conditionally approve the new IOA Constitution as amended on 8 December 2013, subject to ratification of the interpretation of the clause mentioned above by the next IOA General Assembly. As per the process established in May 2013, the elections of the IOA must now take place as soon as possible,” De Kepper wrote in the letter.

He said once the clause is successfully implemented, the IOC Executive Board will be in a position to lift the suspension on India’s Olympic movement. “If the whole process is completed successfully before the IOC Executive Board meeting in Sochi (on 2 and 3 February 2014) and the suspension is then lifted, any qualified Indian athlete will be allowed to take part in the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games with the reinstated IOA, as normal.”

Meanwhile, Sports Minister Jitender Singh said he has asked IOA to move forward their elections, set for Feb 9, so that Indian athletes can participate in the Winter Olympics under the tricolour.

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