International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspends India for violating the Olympic charter
Suspension prevents Indian athletes from competing in Olympic events
IOA loses IOC funding until suspension lifted
The International Olympic Committee has suspended India’s Olympic Association over an election for planning to stage an election that was to be contested by just one official who had been accused of corruption.
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) was due to hold elections on Wednesday in which Lalit Bhanot, who spent 11 months in custody on corruption charges linked to the 2010 Commonwealth Games, but has since been released on bail, had been set to be appointed.
Until the suspension is lifted, Indian athletes will not be able to participate in Game events, with the IOA also losing its IOC funding.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) took the decision because of the IOA’s “failure to comply with the Olympic Charter and its statures, failure to inform the IOC in a timely matter, and as a protective measure against government interference in the IOA’s election process,” said the Olympic governing body in a statement.
“With this decision, the IOA is no longer entitled to exercise any activity or right, including financial support, conferred upon it by the Olympic Charter or the IOC until the suspension is lifted by the IOC executive board.
“In particular, the executive board confirms that the IOA is not entitled to hold any elections until all pending issues are resolved and the EB decides to lift the suspension.”
The IOA was due to hold elections on Wednesday in which an official accused of corruption relating to the 2010 Commonwealth Games had been set to be appointed.
Root and branch reform
Indian shooter Abhinav Bindra, who won the country’s only individual Olympic gold medalist after his success in the 10m air rifle in Beijing four years ago, called on the IOA to get its “act together”.
“I think we should take it as an opportunity to try and clean up the system and build an Olympics association that we all can be proud of,” Bindra told CNN. “So far the association has not done anything for the development of Olympic sports in India.”
And sports lawyer Rahul Mehra, who has been campaigning to improve governance within the IOA, welcomed the IOC’s action.
“I am glad what our government could not do, the IOC has done,” said Mehra. “It should have been done two and half years when the Commonwealth Games happened which was the biggest scam this country has ever seen. That was the first wake up call.”
Mehra also called for root and branch reform of the IOA. “Yes its embarrassing for India, but we need a shakeup, we need a revolution of sorts. Its about transformation in Indian sports, we need new blood, we need new vigor in Indian sports.”