The International Olympic Committee has asked the Indian body to hold elections by December.

The guardian of the Olympic Games issued a ‘final warning’ to the Indian Olympic Association to conduct its elections earlier. The Indian Olympic Association will need to find a solution before the next IOC Executive Board. The IOC stated that it does not recognize an interim IOA President and will hold a joint meeting later this month. Consequently, the IOC postponed the session from May 2023 to September-October 2023.

The postponement of the annual session is due to ongoing internal disputes, governance shortcomings, and ongoing court cases affecting the IOA. The IOC has also issued an ultimatum for failure to hold elections. By the time the Executive Board meets in December 2022, the IOC expects the NOC of India to resolve the governance issues and operate through its governing bodies by holding its quadrennial elections by the Olympic Charter. Failure to meet this could result in India’s immediate suspension.

How it began

The dominoes began to fall after previous IOA chief Narinder Batra resigned from his post citing personal reasons. Anil Khanna appointed the interim president of the IOA. Initially, the IOA elections were supposed to take place in December 2021. The Supreme Court has put the IOA under the control of a Committee of Administrators to ensure the elections are conducted.

James MacLeod, the Director of Olympic solidarity and National Olympic Committee Relations wrote a letter to IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta. The letter said that the suspension of IOA would mean, “Athletes of India would no longer be able to represent the country and compete under the country’s flag at the Olympic Games and other international sports events.” The letter also clarified that the IOC does not recognize any acting/interim president.

The IOC has scheduled a meeting with all concerned parties in Lausanne on September 27 to create a roadmap for the elections. There is no clarity on the delegation that will be sent to represent India. The Olympic Council of Asia will be a part of the meeting.

The National Olympic Committee of India had already faced a suspension for similar reasons between 2012 and 2014. The NOC is no longer entitled to operate as a NOC according to the Olympic Charter’s defined role. The committee will not receive any funding from the Olympic Movement until the suspension is lifted.  

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