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IOA asked to preserve autonomy

August 26, 2007 19:28 IST

In a major thrust to their objection to a proposed independent Sports Regulatory Authority, the Indian Olympic Association on Sunday obtained support from the Olympic Council of Asia "against the Government's interference" in their autonomy and functioning.

OCA president Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah took a serious note of the Indian Government's move to constitute an independent authority and asked IOA president Suresh Kalmadi to "take appropriate measures to maintain the autonomy of the Indian Olympic Association" or face "suspension".

"I would like to refer to different reports coming out in media with regard to a move by the Government of India to interfere in the autonomy and the functioning of the IOA and the National Sports Federations of India," the OCA president wrote in a letter to Kalmadi.

"I would like to reiterate the Aomori declaration as well as the Olympic Charter and the OCA Constitution Article 13 Bye-Law (2) which clearly states: 'All Member NOCs (National Olympic Committees) must preserve their autonomy as envisaged in the OCA Constitution and Rules and in the Olympic Charter. There should be no interference from the Government and its agencies in the functioning of the NOC.

'However, strong and cordial relationships should be maintained with the Government and its agencies. Any violation of the rules of the OCA Constitution/Olympic Charter shall result in suspension/withdrawal of recognition by OCA'."

The IOA, who have been peeved with the Government for formulating a Sports Policy draft without consulting them and proposing to form an independent regulatory body for resolving disputes in NSFs, had taken up the matter with the OCA, International Olympic Committee and the Commonwealth Games Federation.

IOA General Secretary Randhir Singh, who is also the OCA General Secretary, said the suspension would leave Indian sportspersons isolated at the international stage.

"If our affiliation is suspended or withdrawn it would reflect very badly on the country's sportspersons," Singh said.

"India would not only be barred from hosting major international events like Asian, Olympics or Commonwealth Games, but we will have to forget about the upcoming Badminton Grand Prix in Hyderabad as well," he said.

"In fact, we won't even be allowed to take part in the international meets."

The IOA had recently refused to sit across the table with Government officials to discuss the draft before it is sent for the final approval from the Cabinet and will conduct its own meeting with the NSFs on September 1.

Singh said the Sports Ministry's attitude of posting the draft on its website and inviting comments from us along with the general public had brought them embarrassment at the international level.

"The Government's attitude was embarrassing for us. People are laughing at us at international events," he said.

The IOA is also opposed to the move of bringing sports on Concurrent List from the State List.

"What are you going to do by bringing the sports on the Concurrent List?" Singh said.

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