Pakistan close to an Olympic ban, says IOC

LAUSANNE Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:31am IST

Pakistan's flag bearer Sohail Abbas (C) holds the national flag as he leads the contingent in the athletes parade during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium July 27, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Pakistan's flag bearer Sohail Abbas (C) holds the national flag as he leads the contingent in the athletes parade during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium July 27, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Blake

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LAUSANNE (Reuters) - Pakistan could soon join neighbours India as Olympic outcasts with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Tuesday considering suspending the country over what it said was government interference.

"We might soon consider a suspension as a protective measure," IOC spokesman Mark Adams told reporters.

He said the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) and the country's government had been invited to the IOC's headquarters later this week to discuss a domestic dispute over the sports body's independence.

"The government of Pakistan has ignored the invitation," Adams said.

Pakistan Olympic officials claim the government has been interfering with the administration of the POA in a dispute that has been simmering for months.

The IOC banned India in December over government interference in elections of the Indian Olympic Association.

An Olympic ban means an effective end to funding from the IOC to the national Olympic association. No officials of that association can attend Olympic meetings and athletes of a banned nation cannot compete at the Games under their country's flag. (Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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