IOA shows Olympic charter, throws Gill challenge on fixing chiefs’ term

A day before the Delhi High Court hearing on the tenures of sports administrators, the standoff between the government and the Indian Olympic Association intensified. Suresh Kalmadi & Co. got letters of support from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Asian body on Tuesday which described the sports ministry's recent notification on limiting the terms of sports administrators as a violation of the Olympic Charter.

Addressing a media conference, IOA secretary general Randhir Singh, who is also India's representative at the world body, said that the government's directive might even invite potential sanctions, including the suspension of the country's membership with the IOC.

"The number of terms of the office-bearers and a potential age limit for the members of the NOC (national Olympic committee, in this case the IOA) or the National Sports Federations shall not be decided or imposed by law or external body's decision but shall be decided by the respective organizations," the world body stated in an official communiqué.

"Any action taken by an external body in relation to these matters would be viewed as a violation of the principle of autonomy expressed in the Olympic Charter and this might regrettably expose the NOC to protective measures and potential sanctions."

Citing Rule 28.9 of the charter, it further added that such sanctions might include "suspension of or withdrawal of recognition from such NOC."

Randhir said he had forwarded the letter to Sports Ministry and hoped that the issue would be resolved soon. "I hope better sense will prevail. Going ahead with the regulation would invite sanction, which may lead to a complete ban on India. We have to decide if we really want our athletes to compete in international events and host major events in India. If IOC suspends us, all international federations would follow suit and our athletes would be the real victims in such a scenario. It may even jeopardise the Commonwealth Games even though I don't want to be too negative," he said.

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