NEW DELHI: The suspended Indian Olympic Association continued to be in a defiant mood despite the International Olympic Committee’s tough stand on the chargesheet clause, saying Indian law would prevail on these matters and the world body cannot force these provisions upon it.
“We can’t go beyond the law of our land. We will make our constitution according to the law of the land. We have clearly told the two-member IOC delegation that we can’t go beyond the law of the land,” said the suspended IOA’s president Abhay Singh Chautala.
India’s wait to get back to Olympic fold was delayed further after the IOC stuck to its stand on the chargesheet clause, clearly stating that the IOA has to adopt it in order to ensure good governance.
The IOC stood firm on its stand during its Executive Board (EB) meeting in Buenos Aires on Wednesday ahead of the 125th IOC Session and asked the IOA to accept all demands in full, including barring charge-sheeted persons from contesting IOA elections.
In its Special General Body Meeting last month, the IOA had proposed a compromise formula, wherein the sanction will apply only to those officials who are convicted and sentenced to a jail term of more than two years.
Chautala trained his guns on IOC’s representative in the country, Randhir Singh, and held him responsible for the current mess.
“Randhir has destroyed Indian sports. He himself was the secretary general of IOA for 25 years but during his 25-year-long tenure, he was not being able to produce a single sportperson who has made India proud. He himself was an Olympian but failed to produce Olympians. He just enjoyed his position, went on foreign tours and destroyed IOA’s money,” Chautala alleged.
“Ask him whether he is with the law of the land or with the IOC?” Chautala asked.
India was suspended from the Olympic movement in December last year after tainted Lalit Bhanot, who is facing corruption charges linked to the scandal-hit 2010 Commonwealth Games, was elected secretary-general of the IOA.
Sports Minister Jitendra Singh backed the IOC’s decision and urged the IOA to incorporate the required amendments in its constitution so that the interest of country’s sportspersons do not suffer.
“There are certain issues IOC is insisting on. One of the major ones is ethics and good governance. So, I hope better sense prevails and the IOA incorporate some of the changes, which the IOC has suggested,” said the Minister.
“I don’t think there should be a problem in incorporating these changes because it is a part of the Olympic Charter. It is nothing new that the IOC is saying,” he added.
Jitendra termed IOA’s reluctance to amend its constitution in accordance with the IOC’s suggestion as “sad” and asked the association to give preference to the interest of the sportspersons.
“It is sad that the IOA did not modify their constitution as per the international guidelines, international benchmark or as per the Olympic Charter.
“I would like to request IOA to consider modifications in their constitution, keeping in mind the interest of the sportspersons and not some individuals’ interests. It is very very unfortunate that some individuals’ interests took precedence over nation and the sportspersons,” he said.
Vijay Kumar Malhotra, the acting-president of the IOA, demanded that the IOC should make the contentious chargesheet clause mandatory for all member nations.
“We are yet to receive communication from the IOC and we are discuss the issue once we get intimation from the world body,” said Malhotra.
“But the IOC (chargesheet) clause should be applicable to all member countries. If it is for all countries, naturally, we will have to follow it. I don’t think this clause is in the constitution of other countries because these questions never arose before,” he Malhotra.
Bhupathi backs campaign against corruption
Meanwhile, Mahesh Bhupathi backed an online campaign launched by Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra and other athletes to free the IOA of corruption.
Bhupathi said that ethics in sport and its administration are “non-negotiable”.
“Ethics in sport and sports administration are non-negotiable, and cannot be ‘compromised’ in any manner whatsoever. As long as sport in this country is not governed in an ethical and fair manner, I strongly believe this ban will, rightly so, continue to stay,” Bhupathi said in a statement. (PTI)