‘Elections not violation of Olympic Charter’

Facing a realistic threat of de-recognition from the International Olympic Committee over the government's interference in its elections, the Indian Olympic Association sought to clarify to the world body that the process wasn't violating the Olympic Charter.

In a letter to IOC chief Jacques Rogge, IOA's acting president VK Malhotra has said the December 5 elections are being held under IOA Constitution as none of the nominations have been rejected under government's Sports Code.

"Our Constitution does not adhere to government guidelines in election of Executive Committee and office bearers. IOA appointed a three-member election commission consisting of two retired Chief Justices of High Court and one retired High Court judge to conduct free and fair elections," he wrote to Rogge in reply to IOC chief's letter (dated November 23) that proposed IOA's disaffiliation if the elections were held under government guidelines. It was the first time the IOA has received a letter from the IOC chief. Earlier, the letters addressed to the IOA were issued by Pere Miro, NOC Relations Director, IOC.

Malhotra added: "The election commission has informed me that none of the nominations have been rejected on account of government guidelines. All the nominations have been filed strictly and scrutinised in accordance with the Constitution of Indian Olympic Association.

"Kindly be assured that the autonomy of the IOA shall be preserved and protected and no interference of any economic, political angle shall be permitted. The IOA firmly gives commitment to you that the elections are being held and will be held preserving the Olympic Charter."

In a separate letter to IOC Director General Christophe de Kepper, Malhotra sought for a meeting of IOA representatives -- Narinder Batra and R K Anand -- with IOC officials on December 4 and also requested him to invite Indian government officials to resolve the issue.

Malhotra also pointed out that becasue of IOA's stubborn stand, the government could not pass Sports Bill in Parlaiment. "Somehow, the ministry has retained the sports code, though it has not been gazetted," added Malhotra.

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