The continuing stand-off between the government and sports administrators over a controversial sports code resulted in the postponement of a crucial joint meeting with the International Olympic Committee, delaying India's re-entry into the Olympic movement.
The meeting, scheduled to be held at the IOC headquartersin Lausanne, Switzerland on April 15 and 16, had to be postponed after the IOC-recognised representatives of the Indian Olympic Association, V K Malhotra and Randhir Singh, and the Sports Ministry failed to come to a consensus on the Sports Code.
In a letter to the Sports Minister Jitendra Singh, acting president of IOA, Malhotra said the meeting with the IOC officials will have no significance until and unless the government clarifies its stand on the Sports Code, which amounted to the violation of the Olympic Charter.
"The IOC has invited me along with other senior members of the IOA to their headquarters for the discussion to resolve the ongoing crisis arising out of the suspension of IOA by IOC. This action of IOC was done on account of the fact that the Government Sport Code was followed as per the High Court's directives in the IOA elections," he wrote in the letter.
"The IOC has also desired that the government should also participate in the deliberations to be held in Lausanne. It therefore makes it pertinent for the government to clarify its stand on the Sports Code notified by it in January 2012."
The Sports Ministry's move to appoint a committee to re-draft the Sports Bill also did not go down well with Malhotra, who reiterated IOA's position against government's intereference in the functioning of sports bodies.
"Also, the government needs to clarify its latest position about constitution of a committee to re-draft the Sports Bill, which encompasses the earlier guidelines and regulations imposed by it on the IOA and all National Sports Federations," he said.
"We are opposed to such a move, as the motive is again in breach of the Olympic Charter and would surely create more problems, for perpetuity, rather than finding an amicable solution", Malhotra said in the letter.
"The committee appointed by the government includes known IOA baiters and thus it is highly biased and would act in a totally prejudicial manner to the interest of sports and Olympic movement in the country. This contradictory stand of the government defeats all logic," Malhotra said.
"I reiterate that we fully endorse IOC charter and are thus against any interference in the autonomy of IOA or NSF. The Sport Code being in violation of the IOC charter, is not acceptable to us," he added.
Malhotra said the government need to clarify its stand before proceeding for the meeting in Lausanne.
"There is no point in meeting the IOC officials before ironing out our own issues. We need to set our house in order first before meeting IOC officials," Malhotra said.
"Unless there is unanimity between us (the IOA and the government) or a common platform to discuss, a visit to Lausanne will be futile and reflect a poorer image of our nation," he added.
The meeting was supposed to be attended by Malhotra, IOC's representative in India Randhir Singh, Sports Secretary P K Deb from the government's side, Hockey India secretary general Narinder Batra and Yachting Association of India's Malav Shroff.
Photograph: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters