Abhinav Bindra published the statement he made as a member of the Olympic Athletes Commission, in a meeting held between the International Olympic Committee (IOA), the Indian Olympic Association (IOC) and the Government of India (GOI).
The statement by the Olympic gold medallist prescribes a series of guidelines for the IOC to follow, from more athlete representation and a proper structure for IOA membership to creating checks and balances for those in power.
Providing reason for proposing the guidelines, Bindra says, “What is at stake here? It is the sporting trajectory of 17.5% of the world’s population. There has never been a more exciting time in Indian sport with the best ever performances of our athletes at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games....The athletes and public deserve a strong, responsible, skilled and autonomous institutional structure to take this mission forward.”
The joint meeting, which was held at the IOC’s headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, follows tensions between the IOC and the IOA.
The IOC, on September 8, issued a suspension threat whereby the IOA would be suspended if it failed to hold elections this year.
Following are the guidelines that Bindra has prescribed for the IOA:
1. Athlete Representation in governance
“It is essential that the athletes voice is understood and reflected in decision making and governance in a concerted and specific manner.” says Bindra. He proposes setting up Athletes Commissions within the NOC and for all NOC members, where majority of the players shall be elected. In doing this, he says it is essential that the athletes representatives have a chance to express themselves and participate in institutional decision making.
2. Rationalized IOA membership structure
Bindra proposes that the voting membership of the IOA be limited to only the Olympic/CWG/Asiad concerned National Sports Federations. According to him the state Olympic associations can be non-voting members. He further states that all voting members must be only those who abide by the Olympic charter, the national sports code and have an Athletes Commission in place.
3. Checks and balances in governance
Bindra believes that the IOA must delineate powers and responsibilities of its various functionaries i.e IOA general body, executive committee, office bearers and commissions. In order to do so, the general body should only be able to delegate powers to the executive committee as a whole instead on individual office bearers.
4. Operational and financial integrity and transparency
According to Bindra, the IOA constitution must have provisions that prescribe a proper structure for internal and external audits, reporting and public transparency.
5. Institution mechanism for dispute resolution and athletes welfare
The IOA must instate a dispute resolution chamber, ombudsman, ethics officer, welfare and safe guarding officer, according to Bindra.