IOC issues final warning to IOA, to suspend India if elections not held by December

International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Thursday issued a final warning to IOA to "resolve its governance issues" and hold elections by December, failing which the world sports body will ban India.

File Photo: The IOC also stated that its Executive Board reserves the right to take any further action at any stage of the process depending on how the situation develops.

File Photo: The IOC also stated that its Executive Board reserves the right to take any further action at any stage of the process depending on how the situation develops. | Photo Credit: Laurent Gillieron/Pool via AP

International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Thursday issued a final warning to IOA to "resolve its governance issues" and hold elections by December, failing which the world sports body will ban India.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Thursday issued a final warning to IOA to "resolve its governance issues" and hold elections by December, failing which the world sports body will ban India.

The executive board of the IOC, which made in Lausanne on Thursday, also decided not to recognise any "acting/interim president" after Narinder Batra's ouster as Indian Olympic Association president and said it will deal with secretary general Rajeev Mehta as the main point of contact.

"... in view of the ongoing internal disputes, governance shortcomings and ongoing court cases, (IOC Executive Board) took the decision... to issue a final warning and consider the immediate suspension of the NOC of India at the next IOC Executive Board meeting in December 2022 if, by then, the NOC of India is not able to address and resolve its governance issues to the satisfaction of the IOC, in the interest of the sport and the athletes.

"...and operate properly through its governing bodies, i.e. the Executive Committee and General Assembly, and fulfil its obligations, in particular by holding its quadrennial elections in accordance with the Olympic Charter," the IOC's letter sent to IOA read.

The IOC letter sent by James McLeod, Director of Olympic Solidarity and NOC Relations, further said: "During this transition period, and given that the IOC does not currently recognise any 'interim/acting president of the NOC of India, the NOC Secretary General will serve as the main point of contact to coordinate the next steps with the IOC, in close consultation and in agreement with the NOC Executive Council and General Assembly."

The IOC also stated that its Executive Board reserves the right to take any further action at any stage of the process depending on how the situation develops.

The IOC also decided to postpone its session earlier scheduled to be held in Mumbai in May next year.

"In view of the uncertain situation, the IOC Session that is due to take place in Mumbai in May 2023 is postponed until September/October 2023," the letter said.

"Depending on the decisions that will be taken during the IOC Executive Board meeting in December 2022 relating to the NOC of India, the IOC Executive Board will decide as to whether the IOC Session in 2023 should be maintained in India or be relocated." The IOC said in order to agree on a constructive solution and establish a roadmap leading to the elections of IOA, it will organise a joint meeting with all parties concerned later this month in Lausanne.

"In view of the above, we propose to organise a joint meeting on 27 September 2022 in Lausanne and my colleague Jérôme Poivey, Associate Director, NOC Relations Department, will revert to you and all concerned parties accordingly for the details of this meeting," McLeod said.

The IOC had also earlier threatened to suspend the IOA if it failed to conduct its election at the earliest.

The IOA elections were due in December last year but could not be held due to amendments in the poll process.

Last December, the IOA formed a six-member committee to look into the amendments to be made to its constitution before holding elections so as to align it with the National Sports Code.

In May this year, Batra was removed as IOA chief after the Delhi High Court struck down the post of 'life member' in Hockey India, through which he had contested and won the apex body elections in 2017.

Batra later officially resigned as IOA President. After he was removed by the High Court, Batra issued a statement, announcing his decision not to contest the IOA elections.

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