Pleased with the constitutional amendments undertaken by the IOA to bar charge-framed officials,the International Olympic Committee now wants the Indian body to conduct its elections as soon as possible to ensure a smooth return to the Olympic fold.
In its first Executive Board meeting led by President Thomas Bach since his election in Lausanne,the IOC expressed satisfaction with the IOA for making amendments which would bar charge-framed officials from the contesting the body’s elections.
“On Sunday,the currently suspended NOC of India agreed to amend a clause in its constitution as requested by the IOC to meet the basic standards for ethics,good governance and integrity,” the IOC said in a statement.
“The Executive Board welcomed these latest positive developments,which pave the way for the IOC to approve the new NOC constitution and for the NOC to hold its elections as soon as possible,” it added.
The IOA has set February 9 as the date to hold fresh elections and the IOC said in case the Indian body fails to do so,the country’s athletes would have to compete under the Olympic flag in the Winter Games in Sochi scheduled from February 7 to 23.
“Should the NOC not be able to complete the remaining steps of the agreed roadmap by the start of the Sochi Games in February,the EB decided that any Indian athlete that qualifies to compete at Sochi 2014 would be allowed to compete as an independent Olympic participant under the Olympic flag,” the IOC stated.
“The Executive Board also made it clear that,in this event,no Indian flags or symbols would be used at the Games.”
Meanwhile,India’s first individual Olympic gold-medallist,shooter Abhinav Bindra,welcomed the latest developments.
“Happy to see that India’s return to the Olympics is close . Hope everything is implemented in the right spirit and before Sochi,” he tweeted.
The IOA was left with no choice after the IOC served an ultimatum on November 15 to amend the constitution to bar charge-framed persons from contesting polls by December 10.
The ultimatum came after the IOA sought to repeatedly avoid following IOC’s stern directive.
In its October 27 Special GBM,the IOA had sought to dilute IOC’s directive on the charge-framed clause by proposing to refer such cases to its internal Ethics Commission,which was later rejected by the world body.
Suspended on December 5 last for government interference in its functioning and for allowing corruption-tainted persons to contest elections,the IOA top brass had remained adamant taking the stand that Indian law allowed charge-sheeted persons to contest Parliamentary polls.
The de-recognition threat and reports of a planned ad-hoc committee led to the IOA top brass finally understanding the futility of taking on the IOC.
Clean Sports India (CSI),a body which wants to weed out corruption from sports,also thanked the IOC for the decision.
“We sincerely thank the IOC in making the IOA agree to all the important amendments and its a major victory for CSI for keeping Suresh Kalmadi,Abhay Singh Chautala,Lalit Bhanot and other tainted officials out of the IOA elections till they are cleared by the courts”,CSI convenor B V P Rao said.
“This is an opportunity for all former sportspersons to come forward and contest their own federation elections and make the system transparent and accountable”,he added.