IOC suspends IOA over election row


The International Olympic Committee Tuesday suspended the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) saying the government's interference in the IOA election scheduled for Wednesday violated the Olympic charter. The decision, taken at the IOC's executive board meeting in Lausanne, cuts India off from IOC grants and bars it from the Olympics and Asian Games.

The IOC, it is learnt, had reservations over Lalit Bhanot, who faced corruption charges after the Commonwealth Games, taking over as the IOA secretary general. Bhanot was certain to get the key post as his rival pulled out from the contest.

Besides, the IOA decision to adhere to the government sports code for the elections too had not gone down well with the world body that holds on dearly to its autonomy.

Those in the know said the suspension is expected to get revoked in a few months' time. In case IOA introduces the "age and tenure" guidelines into its constitution, IOC is expected to change its decision. "It's just a slap on the wrist, nothing more," said a senior IOA member.

"We had written to the IOC and even had meetings with all the parties involved to solve the issue. We will initiate talks and sort out the issue. The sports code and the IOC charter are the same and that's what IOA and IOC need to understand," said Sports minister Jitendra Singh.

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