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Dow row: IOA tells govt to spell out its stand

Last updated on: March 05, 2012 17:09 IST

The Indian Oympic Association came down heavily on the government for adopting double standards on Dow Chemicals' sponsorship of the London Games, and said the sport ministry's plans of selective boycott of the London Olympics will have "serious repercussions".

Sport Minister Ajay Maken on Sunday said it will be the athletes who will play a vital role in deciding whether India will boycott the Games, if the International Olympic Association (IOC) refuse to drop Dow Chemicals as a sponsor.

However, the IOA asked the government to spell out its stand clearly, as, on one hand, it is talking about boycotting the Games, while, on the other, the agriculture ministry is holding a seminar sponsored by Dow.

"The government's double speak has created more problems and weakened our case further. While it wants that organizers should drop Dow chemicals as sponsor of the Games, Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR), which is under the agriculture ministry, held a seminar last month which was sponsored by Dow," IOA acting president Vijay Kumar Malhotra said, in a statement.

"I am surprised at Sports Ministry's attitude. While IOA want to cooperate with it on this issue, they are playing politics. Why they have not replied to our letters is also open to interpretation.

"The selective leaks in the media by the Sports Ministry are creating more problems. The IOC Charter is very clear and strict on such issue. The talk of selective boycott will have very serious repercussions and will ultimately boomerang," he added.

IOA has received several queries from abroad on this issue and they also want to know "what action Indian Government has taken against Dow Chemicals which has a large scale operation in India.

"This is a very sensitive issue and the Government has to take a call on it," Malhotra said, adding, "We have written four letters to the Sports Ministry on this issue but have yet not received any reply from them."

Government officials are also contemplating a boycott of the opening and closing ceremonies of the London Games in protest of Dow's sponsorship of the stadium wrap, and IOA said they are oblivious to these developments.

"While there are selective leaks from the government sources in the media that the sports ministry is planning to boycott the opening and closing ceremonies, or it may not send its official delegations to the Games as a protest, the IOA has not been told anything in writing.

"With only five months left for the Games, this suspense is not good because it is effecting the preparations of the contingent for the Game," Malhotra said.

He said the IOC had written to the IOA, giving their point of view on this issue and the letter was forwarded to the sports ministry.

"We have come to know through media that Sports Ministry has written to the IOC in reply to that letter," he said.

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