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India's Olympic embarrassment

Source : BUSINESS_STANDARD
Last Updated: Fri, Dec 07, 2012 21:02 hrs

pemAabhas Sharmaem gives the low down on what really went wrong between IOA and IOCppSome say that trouble was inevitable given the unprofessional manner in which Indian sports bodies and federations are run and their dependence on the government But now with the International Olympic Committee suspending the Indian Olympic Association the issue of sports management in India has become something of a public scandal But what exactly did IOA do wrong and what is the road ahead for Indian Olympic sports We try to answer a few of these questionsppstrongWhat is the Olympic charter of the IOC and where did India go wrongstrongbr The Olympic charter states that a country&rsquos Olympic committee has &ldquoto guarantee its full autonomy to ensure free and fair elections in conformity with its own statutes and the Olympic Charter and to implement all basic principles of ethics and good governance in its daily management&rdquo IOC says that IOA faces outside interference read government in its electionsppThe IOC charter also states that national Olympic committee members must not be older than 70 years and that their tenure should be time-bound IOA&rsquos outgoing working president Vijay Kumar Malhotra is 81 years old and has held the position for close to 30 years Suresh Kalmadi was IOA president for 16 years Also most Indian sports federations are headed by government functionariesppIn October IOC&rsquos ethics panel had recommended that Lalit Bhanot should pull out of the elections given his alleged involvement in corruption in the 2010 Commonwealth Games Bhanot who was elected secretary general in the December 5 elections defied IOC saying that he hadn&rsquot been proven guilty in court IOC had also said that the elections should be held with their prior approval which too clearly didn&rsquot happenedppstrongDo other countries follow the IOC charter How does it work therestrongbr In terms of government interference and age issues not many countries break the charter Let&rsquos look at Olympic superpower China On its website the Chinese Olympic Committee states that it is a &ldquonon-governmental non-profit national sports organisation&rdquo Liu Peng who has been heading it since 2005 is a bureaucrat and was a former deputy secretary of the Communist Party But since 2005 he hasn&rsquot been involved &ldquoactively&rdquo in politics according to media reports He is given the credit for organising the 2008 Beijing games one of the best Olympics Games of recent timesppBrazil Olympic Committee is also a non-governmental body It is headed by Carlos Arthur Numan a former Olympian in volleyball who has held numerous posts in sports bodies in Brazil Nuzman turned 70 this year In Russia the Olympic Committee is headed by Alexander Zhukov a former deputy prime ministerppIOC says that it has been warning IOA about its election procedure for the last two years but it paid no heed In 2010 IOC had banned Kuwait for similar reasons and Ghana a year later Ironically Kuwait&rsquos suspension was lifted the same day IOA was bannedppstrongWhat&rsquos the government&rsquos role in the conflict between IOA and IOCstrongbr The government has blamed IOA for the suspension Sports Minister Jitendra Singh has said that there&rsquos no government interference in IOA elections The government Singh has said will try to do whatever it can to solve the issueppBut can it ensure that politicians to not get involved in sports ppstrongWhat&rsquos the way forward for IOAstrongbr The ball is in IOA&rsquos court now and it must get its house in order But IOA seems adamant that it hasn&rsquot done anything wrong Soon after he was elected IOA president Abhay Chautala said that &ldquowe have completed a free and fair election under three eminent retired High Court Justices&rdquo He said IOA plans to convince the IOC and explain how the elections were fair But the only way the suspension could be revoked is for IOA to amend its constitution to meet IOC guidelines Will that happen Knowing how Indian sports bodies function it looks unlikelyp

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