Sports minister may mediate in IOA-IOC row

The IOC suspended the IOA on December 4 for supposedly violating the Olympic Charter during its elections.

New Delhi: Sports minister Jitendra Singh on Monday offered to mediate and help resolve the stand-off between the suspended Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) over electoral process and government interference.

The IOC suspended the IOA on December 4 for supposedly violating the Olympic Charter during its elections.

In a recent communication, the IOC has offered to speak to the Indian government and the IOA officials who were part of the regime before the December 5 elections.

“We will speak to them on the issue. We will also meet the sportspersons and take their views and, hopefully, we will come out with a solution,” said Singh.

“I am willing to go to Lausanne if the need arises. But there are certain logistical issues regarding the meeting and I am ready to interact with them in order to break the deadlock,” he said, after presiding over the opening session of the fifth TERI YUVA Meet.

There hasn’t been any constructive dialogue between the IOC, the IOA and the government since the Indian Olympic body’s suspension. The suspension was followed by de-recognition of the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF), the Taekwondo Federation of India and the Fencing Association of India by their respective world bodies for the same reasons.

Since the IOA’s suspension, the sports ministry, too, has upped the ante against the various National Sports Federations (NSFs) that have been violating the sports code. The government had directed the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) to conduct fresh elections for the posts of president, secretary general and treasurer, and also remove a clause, which it found to be restrictive, from its constitution.

The AFI, at a special general body meeting here on Sunday, removed the contentious Clause XIV( b)( 1) of its constitution, which required candidates for the posts of president and secretary to be an existing member of the executive committee, and decided to hold fresh election tentatively on February 24.

Reacting, Singh said: “The ministry has not received any communication from the AFI and once we receive it, we will look into the matter.”

AFI polls were held in March last year but the sports ministry refused to recognise the president and secretary who were elected under the old, contentious clause. The ministry had, on December 11, directed the AFI to amend its constitution and hold re-election by February 28, at the latest for the post of president, secretary and treasurer or face de-recognition.

Earlier, delivering his opening address, Singh said that although the sports ministry is not the most important one, he considers it to be the most important one as 70 per cent of the country’s population comprises youth.

"The sports ministry is not a high-flying one but I believe it is an important ministry. The majority of our country’s population consists of youth and it is imperative to ensure that their needs and aspirations are addressed,” said Singh.

Meanwhile, Singh said that there has been an increase in awareness regarding environmental issues.

"Nature keeps giving us warning signals from time to time. I feel that before it gets too late, we need to spread awareness and address environmental concerns."

"I am happythat over the years, there has been a steady increase in awareness among youth on environmental issues,” he said.

Reproduced From Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.


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