India Could Miss London ’12 Due to Government Interference

April 26, 2011

The Indian Government’s warning that they are prepared to intervene to ensure that Suresh Kalmadi is removed as the head of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) could see the nation miss out on participation at London 2012.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) have repeatedly urged the Government not to get involved in the administration of sport in the country by trying to influence the election of senior officials.

However, new Sports Minister Ajay Maken has told the IOA that if they do not elect a new President to replace Kalmadi following his arrest yesterday, April 25, on corruption charges linked to the Commonwealth Games, then they will take legal action.

Maken said: “What we have decided here in the Sports Ministry is that as soon as the official arrest of Suresh Kalmadi is announced by the CBI, we are going to write to the IOA that they should elect a new President.

“The person who is in jail or who has been charge-sheeted, it would not be in the national interest that he should represent the country anymore. 

“As soon as official confirmation of his arrest comes, we are going to request the IOA to elect someone.”

Kalmadi has been President of the IOA since 1996 and appeared in court in Delhi this morning on charges related to the awarding of Games contracts, including a US$743,000 deal with a London firm over the staging of the Queens Baton relay and a contract with Swiss Timing.

The IOC warned India in January that they faced being banned from London following its failure to adopt proposals agreed following a meeting in Lausanne last June, including the Government respecting the autonomy of the IOA.

Despite this, Maken appears determined to remove Kalmadi, who was the chairman of the Organising Committee for last year’s Commonwealth Games in Delhi, adding: “We would also be writing to the Attorney general seeking his legal advice.

“The Government can also take action on its own if the IOA fails to take any action against him. 

“If required, we will take action on our own.

“We will first write to the IOA to remove him, elect a President and simultaneously we would also write to the AG to give us some advice on the matter.”