New Delhi, November 11
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has rejected to go ahead with the administrative changes enshrined in the Draft National Sports Code 2017, warning that it could lead to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspending the country.
IOA also expressed surprise with the Union Government’s move to seek feedback on the draft after Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, on October 11, announced the formation of a committee to look into contentious provisions that are being opposed by National Sports Federations. One such issue is the age and tenure cap on officials.
Despite the announcement by Rijiju, the Sports Ministry, through its Director (Sports), sent a letter to IOA on October 24 asking for feedback on the Draft National Sports Code latest by November 10.
IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta, in turn, sent a note rejecting the changes proposed by the 2017 Draft National Sports Code. “We, the IOA and all our members, reject the new Draft Sports Code as it interferes with the autonomy of IOA and its members,” Mehta said in the feedback letter sent to the ministry. “The Sports Code was discussed with GOI MYAS and implemented in 2014 in IOA Statutes which enabled IOA to regain its recognition in 2012. Any further interference in IOA autonomy will be taken seriously by IOC and OCA and can once again lead to suspension of membership of IOA. We certainly hope that it is not the intention of Sports Ministry to send Indian contingent to Tokyo Olympics under IOC Flag and not the Indian Flag,” he added.
IOA was suspended by IOC in December 2012 for government interference and was reinstated 14 months later after assurances of autonomy. The National Sports Code 2011 is currently in force but a new National Sports Code was drafted in 2017. The draft proposed drastic changes in the 2011 Code. The changes include barring of ministers, Members of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies and government servants from holding office in NSFs and IOA, tenure restrictions and age cap of 70 years. The draft also widened its scope to all office-bearers and board members of IOA and NSFs. It also calls on NSFs to appoint CEOs, Nominee Directors and an Ombudsman.
Age cap, tenure
Regarding the age cap of 70 years for its office-bearers and other Executive Board members, IOA argued that even though the norm is in sync with the Olympic Charter, IOC has not enforced it on all international federations.
Instead, IOA has proposed that every NSF be allowed to follow the age limit of its respective international federation, or a uniform age limit of 75 be imposed.
On the issue of the tenure of office-bearers, IOA proposed three terms for the president, secretary-general and treasurer and no limit for other Executive Board members. It also proposed to do away with the provision of cooling-off period for the office-bearers.
IOA also said that the Athletes Commission would be in compliance with the guidelines of IOC and it would oppose government intervention in this matter. It also objected to a CAG audit of its accounts as it “does not avail government funding for its administration”.
IOA also rejected the “government’s attempts to regulate the administration of ethical matters, grievance redressal and dispute resolution that are under the purview of IOA now”. — PTI
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