Sports Ministry derecognises IOA over appointment of Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Chautala as life presidents
The IOA will remain suspended until the time it takes back the decision of appointing Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Chautala as life presidents.
What’s the story?
The Sports Ministry have derecognised the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) following its decision to elevate tainted officials Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Singh Chautala to the posts of life presidents of the sporting body. The suspension will continue until the time the IOA rolls backs its decision regarding the appointments.
Union Sports Minister Vijay Goel was quoted as saying to ANI: “The appointments in the IOA were against sportsmanship, good governance, basic principles and ethics and hence the Government put forth a ruling in favour of derecognising the IOA until the time they take back their decision.
“As the Ministry, we have a responsibility towards sports, sportspersons and the nation as a whole; moreover, today the general public also wants that sports federations like the IOA are transparent in their operations, which is why we were compelled to take this decision.”
The decision to appoint the scam-tainted Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Singh Chautala, both of whom have been involved in corruption previously, was taken at IOA’s Annual General Meeting which was held on Tuesday in Chennai.
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Sports Minister Vijay Goel had expressed his grave shock at the developments in the IOA and subsequently the Ministry had issued a show-cause notice to the IOA regarding the controversial elevation of the duo to the honorary positions, giving the body time until Friday to respond to the same.
However, the IOA initially put forth a statement that it will not abide by the Sports Ministry’s direction with regards to replying to the show-cause notice. “We cannot directly reply to a show-cause notice like this. Under Olympic Charter, the IOA enjoys autonomy and independence from government interference. We will first consult with the IOC on this notice before thinking of replying," a top official was quoted as saying to PTI.
Subsequently, the body sought an extension of 15 days on Saturday to reply to what they claimed was a serious notice. Vijay Goel remarked on the same, saying that, “If the issue was so serious, what was the need for the President of the IOA to be out of the country at the given point of time. Moreover, the notice did not state anything new, in fact it has been clearly mentioned in the IOA Constitution and the IOC Charter, that no person with a chargesheet record can hold an official position in the federation.”
The heart of the matter
The IOA has clearly violated the boundaries of good governance by appointing corrupt individuals like Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Singh Chautala as it’s life presidents. Kalmadi was charged with misconduct, forgery, conspiracy under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. He was put behind bars for 10 months for his involvement in the Commonwealth Games in 2010 in the capacity of the Chief of the Organizing Committee.
Abhay Chautala, on the other hand, was the president of the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation which was later dissolved in 2013 on account of rigged elections. However, the IOA went ahead and ignored their tainted records to appoint them for the honorary positions.
The Sports Minister has clearly stated that the Sports Ministry exists for all sports and athletes. He has also stated that athletes will compete under the aegis of the Sports Ministry when they compete in international events. This ensures that athletes’ careers and performance in sporting events is not hindered.
But, as much as one would like to ensure that the athletes will not bear the brunt of these developments, somewhere down the line it will no doubt have an effect on their performances if their faith in the association they belong to has been dented.