India Set for IOC Dispute as Sports Reject Government Law

May 2, 2011

Interim President of the Indian Olympic Association’s (IOA), V.K Malhotra has sparked a row that could potentially jeopardise the participation of the country’s team at the London 2012 Olympics upon telling the Government that the National Sports Federations (NSFs) will reject a new law proposed by the Sports Ministry.

The proposed bill will limit the age and tenure of the NSF’s office bearers, however, having met with 25 of the 34 NSFs yesterday, May 1, Malhotra said that it was unanimously decided that the NSFs will defend their autonomy.

“All the NSFs present in the meeting have resolved to defend the autonomy of the Federations,” said Malhotra, who is President of the Archery Association of India.

“Most of the Federations were forced or compelled to accept the draconian guidelines and the the Sports Bill. 

“Obstacles are being created for them so that they may not send their teams in international competitions.”

Malhotra claimed the Government wants to have full control over sports at all levels, including at the state and district levels, which is against the Olympic Charter.

The Indian Government have been warned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on numerous occasions, that they are risking a suspension which could jeopardise their participation at London if they try to interfere in the autonomy of the IOA and NSFs.

Malhotra, who took over the President of the IOA last week following the arrest of Suresh Kalmadi on corruption charges, added: “We outrightly reject the bill and the Federations are prepared to accept any other suggestion of the Government which do not interfere in the autonomy of the national federations.” 

IOA secretary general Randhir Singh, who is also a member of the IOC, said that the matter is due to be discussed with the Government at a special meeting tomorrow, saying: “Today, 25 Federations, who will be present in tomorrow’s meeting, participated in the discussion and all the federations are going to oppose the bill.

“The Government is adopting a dictatorial attitude towards the Federations and this is not the proper way to run sports in a democracy.”

Malhotra claimed that the IOA were not against reform but refused to be dicatated to by the Government.

“The Federations have already accepted the principle of transperancy, fair elections, CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) audit, number of players in the management of Federation as per institutional guidelines etc,” he said.

“The Federations are also prepared to accept any other suggestion of the Government, which do not interfere in their autonomy.”