IOA: Our main concern is the athletes, not the administrators

The IOA will mediate between aggrieved parties in cases of infighting among national sports federations, its president N. Ramachandran says.

"It’s time to get together and work for sports rather than pursue individual agendas," says the IOA President N. Ramachandran.   -  R. Ragu

In order to more effectively mitigate crises spread in Indian sport due to infighting within national sports bodies, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has decided to encourage aggrieved parties to approach the IOA for a mutual settlement under its aegis. Its president N. Ramachandran has admitted that the hassle surrounding infighting, such as in bodies representing boxing and basketball in recent times, has hampered the development of athletes.

"Too many federations are having too many issues. This is affecting the players,” Ramachandran said after the IOA’s executive committee meeting.

“We do not wish the players to suffer. If there are issues within the national sports bodies, the aggrieved parties should first approach the IOA. We encourage them to work towards solutions in a spirit of ‘forgive and forget’,” he said.

Clashes among administrators and anarchy in general have been unsettling for the athletes. In recent times, India’s erstwhile body representing boxing — Boxing India — has faced controversy and eventually an outright ban that resulted in its dissolution. India’s boxers have faced uncertain times in the last few years.

The consideration to put athletes first was reiterated by Ramachandran when he elaborated on a peace deal between himself and associate vice-president Narender Batra. “We did it to ensure there was no infighting within the National Olympic Association. It’s time to get together and work for sports rather than pursue individual agendas,” he said.

“Our main concern is the athletes, not the administrators.”

Ramachandran also specified his term as president of the IOA was scheduled to continue until February, 2018. He said the International Olympics Committee (IOC) had stated the period between elections is supposed to be four years. He was elected as the president in February, 2014.

“This is in accordance with the constitution, which is approved by the IOC and the Olympic Council of Asia,” he said.

Ramachandran also admitted to the financial burden faced by the IOA. “If India had won more medals in Rio, it would have been easier for us to be self-sufficient,” he said.