The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has given a final warning to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), threatening a suspension for India if elections are not completed by December 2022.
The threat comes after the IOC observed the IOA’s lack of ability to resolve its “governance issues”.
The executive board of the IOC also decided not to observe any acting/interim president of the IOA post the ousting of Narinder Batra as President. The committee further decided that its point of contact would be the secretary general, Rajeev Mehta.
Why does the IOC seek to suspend India?
The IOA elections were due to be held in December last year but could not be completed due to amendments in the poll process. A six-member committee was also set up to ensure that the constitution of the IOA remained in line with the laws of India, thus furthering the election process.
The two parties later quarrelled over the same issue in July 2022. Acting president Anil Khanna called the warning issued by the IOC to suspend the IOA for not conducting elections a premature one. He then requested a reasonable opportunity to ensure that the IOA constitution remained in line with the India law. He further claimed that his appointment was made in accordance with the laws of India. However, the IOA has failed to complete its elections which have been due for over nine months.
The position today
The IOC believes that the affairs of the national federation are currently not in control as elections for presidentship were not duly held. Furthermore, it was also communicated that the IOC would postpone its sessions to be held in India from May 2023 to September/October 2023 in light of the current situation.
The IOC made it clear that, if by the next IOC Executive Committee general meeting, the IOA failed to complete its elections, India would be suspended by the IOC.
Further consequences of withholding elections
It is pertinent to note that if the IOC suspension does go through, athletes from India would not be allowed to represent the country under its flag at the Olympic Games and other international sporting events. As part of the Olympic movement, the national federation will also stop receiving funding from the IOC.