Recent developments with regard to impending elections at the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), wherein one section of the officials has invited the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to interfere in its internal affairs is not only deplorable, but also condemnable.

Every sport in the world is under the control of Western powers. The IOC is no exception. The current group that has sought the IOC’s involvement , it seems, believes in the sports imperialism practised by the West .

The IOA and all its members are Indian citizens and are governed by the law of the land. The apex sports body has its own constitution and an effective mechanism to run its own affairs.

Even so, the IOC has threatened to suspend India if the IOA elections, slated for December 5, are not held according to the Olympic charter and as per the latter’s constitution.

Sports code

The contentious issue is not whether the IOA constitution is followed or not in the election process but whether or not to follow the Union Government’s Sports Code. The tenure and age factors as prescribed in the sports code and agreed to by the Delhi High court, have been borrowed from the IOC statutes. These facts have been brought to the knowledge of the IOC.

Despite these, the IOC continues to interfere in the internal matters of an Indian organisation and is urging the IOA to take a stand opposed to the Indian law and the Government.

There have been many such instances where world sporting bodies have interfered sports federations in India. To recall, the same tactic was tried on the Sports Journalists’ Federation of India (SJFI) during its elections earlier this year. The world body AIPS attempted to impose itself but was told politely not to interfere.

The battle for supremacy in the IOA has always been marred by money and muscle power. But that does not mean all stakeholders will stop respecting the law of the land and the role of the Government. It is time to address the ills and put in place a process that will cleanse the system.

sabanayakan.s@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on November 25, 2012)
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