India’s veteran sports administrator Randhir Singh will be in charge of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) during the upcoming Asian Games in Hangzhou, China after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) refused to recognise the recent election at OCA.
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has asked Randhir to continue discharging his duties as the acting president of the OCA.
The IOC wrote to Randhir, a former secretary general of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and an ex-IOA member, after banning Kuwait’s Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah for three years over his alleged involvement in the recent OCA elections in Bangkok, where the latter’s brother Sheikh Talal Fahad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah was appointed president of the top continental sports body by 24 votes to 20.
But the IOC, on the recommendation of its ethics commission, refused to recognise Sheikh Ahmad’s election to the OCA president’s post and launched an investigation into the polls.
A former OPEC secretary-general, Sheikh Ahmad was already suspended as a member of the IOC after being convicted by a Swiss criminal court of forgery in 2021, following which he also stepped down as president of the OCA.
“Seeing as the IOC investigation is likely not to be concluded before October 2023 and since the IOC has not recognised the election of Sheikh Talal Al-Sabah, the IOC will continue to work with you as OCA’s acting president and with the OCA Executive Board that was in place prior to the Bangkok General Assembly,” the IOC said in the letter.
“We expect that you continue to direct the OCA administration in all matters, including the calling of any Executive Boards, General Assemblies and any other meetings needed for the governance of the OCA.
“We would also appreciate if you could confirm to whom the IOC should address itself for daily administration business.” Now an honourary member of IOC, former shooter Randhir has also served as OCA secretary general from 1991 to 2015.
The IOC further said, “Following the outcome of the IOC investigation, we will work with you to implement the next steps of a roadmap to ensure the continued functioning of the OCA according to the basic principles of good governance.” Randhir had taken over as acting president of the Olympic Council of Asia in September 2021 as Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah decided to appeal the guilty verdict in the Swiss forgery trial.
Underlining that it would continue to assist the National Olympic Committees of Asia, particularly in their preparation for the Hangzhou Asian Games and Paris Olympics, the IOC, in another letter addressed to the NOCs of Asia, said the decision of its Executive Board relating to the IOC funds allocated to the Asian NOCs through OCA (decentralized Olympic solidarity funds) would be discussed further. “You will shortly receive the information as to how Asian NOCs will continue accessing the IOC funds, but we can already reassure you that these funds remain available through Olympic Solidarity in Lausanne,” said the letter.
A five-time Olympic shooter and an Asian Games gold medallist in 1978, Randhir was promoted to the role from his position as an honorary life vice president.
The upcoming Asian games are slated from September 23 to October 8.
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