Sports Minister meets IOC member ahead of Lausanne meet

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Illustration: Sudeep Chaudhuri
Illustration: Sudeep Chaudhuri

The Minister of State for Youth Affairs & Sports Jitendra Singh today met International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Randhir Singh regarding the dispute between IOC and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).

The press statement released by the ministry said that “During the meeting, a large number of issues were discussed and a common consensus approach was arrived at. This will be discussed with all stake holders and the Ministry hopes that India will be able to put up a common front in the meeting with IOC at Lausanne.”

The IOC had earlier invited representatives of the suspended IOA and Sports Ministry to meet on 15 and 16 April in Lausanne. The meeting was meant to discuss how India could minimize government interference in the election process and functioning of the IOA, which were major reasons for the IOC suspending the IOA in December 2012.

The meeting however, had to be cancelled because of a lack of consensus between VK Malhotra, the IOA acting president (also President of the derecognised Archery Association of India for the last forty-one years) and the Sports Ministry. Malhotra (81), a BJP MLA, had objected to the age and tenure limits specified in the Sports Code such that no sports officials would be allowed to serve beyond 70 years of age or for more than three consecutive terms, i.e. 12 years.

The Sports Minister had last week, expressed disappointment at Malhotra’s excuse that the IOA had been suspended by the IOC because of the Sports Bill. He had even threatened that he would go to Lausanne himself and find a way for India to join the Olympic movement if the IOA was unwilling to attend the meeting itself.

This is the third time that the meeting between IOC and IOA officials has been postponed since the IOA’s suspension in December. The Sports Secretary, PK Deb had also mentioned the necessity of having a consensus on the issue of age and tenure guidelines under the Sports Code, in order to have consensus before the Indian delegation meet the IOC officials on May 7.

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