India face IOC suspension due to govt interference

MUMBAI Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:32pm IST

A worker prepares a stage with a display of the Olympic rings at the Raffles City Convention Centre in Singapore July 5, 2005. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad/Files

A worker prepares a stage with a display of the Olympic rings at the Raffles City Convention Centre in Singapore July 5, 2005.

Credit: Reuters/Bazuki Muhammad/Files

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MUMBAI (Reuters) - India faces suspension by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) due to government interference in the forthcoming election of its national Olympic body.

In a letter to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), the IOC said it will propose the country's suspension at its executive board meeting next week if the elections are not held strictly on the basis of the Olympic Charter and the IOA constitution.

"It is hereby confirmed that a proposal for suspension of the IOA will be presented to the IOC Executive Board at its next meeting on 4-5 December 2012," IOC director general Christophe de Kepper wrote in a letter to IOA acting chief V.K. Malhotra.

The IOA has been directed by a Delhi court to hold the elections adhering to the government's sports code, while the IOC wants the governing body to abide by the Olympic charter.

The IOC blamed non-cooperation by the Indian government and the IOA for the current situation.

"The issues at hand have been discussed for more than two years and have unfortunately not been resolved adequately by the Government authorities and the IOA in spite of all the efforts made by the IOC," the letter said.

"Consequently, the IOC and Olympic Council of Asia will not send delegates to India at this stage."

The IOA will have to provide written guarantees to the IOC by Friday that the December 5 elections will be held without government interference.

The run-up to the highly politicised IOA poll has been mired in controversy with beleaguered president Suresh Kalmadi bowing to pressure in October and not seeking re-election.

Kalmadi had been arrested in April 2011 on charges of inflating tenders worth millions of dollars for equipment used at the 2010 New Delhi Commonwealth Games which he was heading.

He was released from prison in January after serving nine months.

The vote, originally scheduled for November 25, has already been postponed once to December 5 after the chairman of the election commission resigned, caught in the imbroglio surrounding the IOA constitution and the government's sports code.

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Mark Meadows)

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