While addressing a final warning to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to hold elections by December or face a ban, the IOC earlier this month called for a joint meeting on Tuesday “to agree on a constructive solution and establish a roadmap leading in the IOA elections”.
“The meeting went well. It was a constructive and fruitful meeting. A plan is there and I think we can have a solution. Let’s see,” a source familiar with the development told PTI on terms of anonymity.
On September 22, the Supreme Court gave permission to the IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta and Vice-President Adille Sumariwalla to participate in the meeting with the IOC, alongside officials from the Ministry of Sports.
The SC had also appointed the former Supreme Court Justice, Justice L Nageswara Rao to amend the IOA constitution and prepare the electoral college. A bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud has asked Justice Rao to prepare a roadmap to amend the constitution and hold elections by December 15.
Meanwhile, shooter Abhinav Bindra, the country’s first individual Olympic gold medalist, also attended the meeting and presented his views.
“…unexpected for me is to be back for a second meeting on this topic 10 years after the first one. So much has changed in Indian sport in the last ten years and yet not badly”, Bindra said in his statement to the joint meeting.
He was referring to a similar business he was involved in when the IOA was banned by the IOC from December 2012 to February 2014.
For media and sports fans who reach out to me, here is my statement from the athletes’ perspective at the joint meeting… https://t.co/gRsdfsZiAj
— Abhinav A. Bindra OLY (@Abhinav_Bindra) 1664280792000
“I consulted with a number of athletes, current and retired, from multiple Olympic disciplines and from different parts of the country. There was a lot of commonality in their suggestions.
“I wanted to express the overriding concern of all athletes – that it is the athletes who suffer if there is a failure in governance and will continue to suffer if there is a suspension, de-recognition or other sanction from the IOA. All of this when athletes have no control or guilt when it comes to issues that affect their careers and livelihoods.I hope this angst helps contextualize the issues I am raising.
Bindra identified five points to address the issue, namely: 1. Representation of athletes in governance and statement of athlete rights and responsibilities; 2. Streamlined IOA membership structure, including athlete membership; 3. A clear accountability framework with checks and balances in governance; 4. Operational and financial integrity; and 5. Institutional Mechanism for Dispute Resolution and Athlete Welfare.
“These issues have a profound impact on athletes…all emphasis must be placed on fully respecting the Olympic Charterthe IOC ethical standards and basic universal principles of good governance, the National Sports Code of India and applicable law in India, as this is essential to maintain the integrity of the Olympic and sports movement in India. ”
He made a few suggestions that might make the AIO very uncomfortable as they have been against it for a long time.
“…limiting the membership structure to allow only Olympic/CWG/Asiad relevant DSFs to constitute voting members, this is an essential step to ensure accountability. Voting members must be those which comply with the Olympic Charter, the Sports Code and which have Athletes’ Commissions in Others such as National Olympic Associations could be included as non-voting members.
“The focus should be on implementing a comprehensive set of governance reforms and standards down to the bottom of the pyramid, including the presence of an Athletes’ Commission. In addition, individual membership at the IOA should be accessible to a limited number of prominent athletes to create a pathway for retired Olympians and other athletes to join the administration.”
The AIO elections were scheduled for December last year but could not take place due to amendments in the voting process.
Last December, the IOA formed a six-member committee to consider changes to its constitution before holding elections to bring it into line with the National Sport Code.
In May this year, Narinder Batra was removed from his position as the head of the IOA after the Delhi High Court overturned Hockey India’s ‘lifetime membership’, through which he contested and won the election. of the supreme body in 2017.
Batra then officially resigned as President of the AIO. After being impeached by the High Court, Batra issued a statement announcing his decision not to contest the AIO elections.