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Respect national sentiment, Sports Ministry tells IOC

May 12, 2010 19:57 IST

Determined to go ahead with the regulation to limit the tenure of sports bosses, the Sports Ministry on Wednesday requested International Olympic Committee (IOC) to respect India's "national sentiments" and help the government give the country a "better deal".

The Ministry shot off a letter to IOC president Jacques Rogge, explaining why it is necessary to implement the guideline that limits the tenure of the National Sports Federation (NSF) presidents to 12 years while secretary and treasurer would have to take a four-year break after serving eight years at a stretch and prescribing a retirement age of 70 for all sports administrators.

"We urge you, to respect our national concerns and sentiments, and assist us, in giving Indian sports, a better deal, in the 21st century," the Ministry said, soon after receiving a letter in which the IOC had warned to take measures against India if the Ministry went ahead with the regulation that would hurt Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Suresh Kalmadi and various NSF chiefs who have been ruling for more than a decade.

Pointing out that IOC itself had changed rules in 1999 "in order to have a reasonable age limit of 70 years, a maximum presidential term of 12 years and an office bearer's term of 8 years to be followed by a break" the Ministry wondered why National Olympic Committees (NOC) like IOA are not made to follow the same.

"...your present position seems to indicate that what is eminently desirable for the IOC and has been put in place by the votes of the NOCs, need not be followed by the NOCs themselves and they may continue to have office bearers of unacceptable lengths of tenure going on to advanced ages," the Ministry said.

"Surely the IOC, while not directing, could in the interest of world sports and the good management of NOCs advise them to consider the IOCs practice," it said.

"You have indicated that therefore the sole interest you have is to let them function as they may, elect as they will and the national governments or the courts of the countries should not restrain them or guide them...This is to say the least, a very strange position," the Ministry said.

Lauding IOC's effort to make a drug-free sports world, the Ministry wondered how the governing body could ignore something as significant as clean elections in various NOCs.

"...we are surprised that in such a fundamental matter as good democracy and clean elections in the NOCs, you do not wish to take any position except to say that no matter how unacceptable the situation, the national authorities or courts of the country are not to look their way," it said.

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