IOA ups the ante, says interference could lead to suspension

Armed with letters of support from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), the IOA went on the offensive and said sports bodies could not be subjected to interference and external pressure as per the Olympic Charter.

"Any restriction in the tenure of the office bearers and fixing age limit may amount to interference to the internal functioning of the National Olympic Committees. This may lead to violation of Olympic Charter and IOC Executive Board may hand sanctions, suspension or withdrawal of recognition of such NOCs," IOA Secretary General Randhir Singh told a press conference here.

"The issue of limiting tenure and fixing age limit of of office bearers of the NOCs shall not be decided or imposed by law of any government or external pressure but should be decided by the NOCs themselves. These should be the prerogative of the NOCs and decided by their executive committees or general assemblies," Randhir said, quoting a letter from the IOC.

The letter said that there was a need to have a good relationship between the NOCs and respective governments but that would not mean that the latter can interfere in the internal working of the sports bodies.

"There should be harmonious relationship between NOCs and their respective governments. But the autonomy of the NOCs is enshrined in the Olympic Charter and it is the balance between this autonomy and good relation with the governments that is important for the development of sport.

NOCs no doubt work under the government but they are also subject to Olympic Charter and the constitution of the international federations. The respective governments must understand that the NOCs can in no way be subject to interference or external pressure in the internal functioning of these organizations (NOCs)," the letter said.

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