‘No government interference in IOA elections’

New Delhi, Dec 1 (IANS) The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) Friday asserted that there is no government interference in the election process of the apex body of Indian sports and it is in conformity with its constitution and the Olympic Charter.

The IOA also said that it has always adhered to the Olympic Charter and unequivocally supported International Olympic Committee (IOC) stand on the autonomy of the National Olympic Committees (NOC) and National Sports Federations (NSFs).
Talking to mediapersons here this afternoon, IOA acting president Vijay Kumar Malhotra said the election is being conducted by three-member commission consisting of eminent jurists and there was no rejection of nomination papers on any pretext.
Malhotra said he has always resolutely opposed the Sports Code and for last two years “IOA has many-a-time called upon the government to scrape this ill-conceived code.”
“We met the prime minister last year and after that have been repeatedly voicing our opposition to this so called code and other attempts by the government to interfere in the affairs of the IOA and NSF,” said Malhotra.
Malhotra said he has written to IOC chief Jacques Rogge assuring him that autonomy of the IOA shall be “preserved and protected and no interference of any economic and political angle shall be permitted.”
“We would like to join hands with you to resolve the issue so as to see that the Government of India withdraws the Guidelines/Sports Code,” said Malhotra.
He said he was confident that the IOC will appreciate IOA’s point of view and will not do anything which will have adverse impact on the Olympic movement in India.
Malhotra pointed out that the IOA was caught in a very piquant situation. On one hand the government has threatened it with derecognition if it does not accept its Sports Code and on the other the IOC insists that there should be no violation of its Charter and opposes any interference by the government. Then the High Court which has ruled that elections should be conducted according to the IOA Constitution as well as Sports Code.
Malhotra insisted as things stand there was no government interference in the election process and only certain disgruntled elements are creating the confusion.
“I am surprised at the attempts being made by some disgruntled elements to create confusion regarding the election. Before and after the election was announced and till the last date of filling of nominations nobody raised any objection on any ground. In fact the outgoing secretary general himself went to the Sports Ministry to get a letter from it saying that he is eligible to contest the election,” said Malhotra.
The IOA chief said the outgoing secretary general Randhir Singh was party to every IOA decision.
He urged Randhir Singh not to do anything which may harm the interests of the Indian sports and sportspersons.