The International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued a final warning to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on September 8, 2022, threatening a suspension for India if elections were not completed by December 2022. The threat came after the IOC observed the IOA’s lack of ability to resolve its “governance issues”. The IOC’s executive board also decided to not recognise the authority the acting president of the IOA, Anil Khanna, and maintained its point of contact with the Secretary General, Rajeev Mehta.
In light of the situation, Anil Khanna decided to resign on Wednesday as the acting president of the IOA. However, as he left his position, Khanna also raised concerns about the IOC’s stance on the current situation. He stated that there was an instance previously of the IOA recognising then-vice president VK Malhotra as the acting president after the 2010 Commonwealth Games. He further questioned the authority of the IOC to interpret the law of the land, persisting that the Courts of the nation are to interpret national statutes over bodies such as the IOC. Khanna, though, also respected the views taken by the IOC and acknowledged that the IOA was going through a challenging phase.
While there exist different opinions regarding the position of the interim/acting president, the Supreme Court and the government are looking to normalise the functions of the IOA and reach an interpretation that would result in the protection of country’s sportspeople. To meet that end, Khanna stated that he had to step down from his current role, a position he made clear in his letter dated 18 September 2022, laying emphasis on the duty of the parties concerned to harmonise with one another to complete elections and regularly run the IOA.