Don’t curb sports bodies’ autonomy, IOC warns India

May 12th, 2010 - 8:59 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 12 (IANS) The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has warned India not to take away the autonomy of sports federations, failing which there would be consequences.
In a letter to Sports Minister M.S. Gill, IOC Relations Director Pere Miro asked New Delhi not to limit the tenure of the federation heads before discussing the issue with the IOC.

Written on behalf of IOC president Jacques Rogge, the letter warned of “protective measures” provided in the Olympic charter if India went ahead with its proposed guidelines.

“Until this dialogue (with IOC) is established, it is our understanding that the guidelines you have issued will not be imposed in a mandatory manner on the organisations of the Olympic movement of India. Otherwise, we would unfortunately be obliged to consider the protective measures,” the letter said.

“This is our understanding of what autonomy of the Olympic and sports organisations means, and it is the basic principle that governs the Olympic movement which everyone, including the public authorities (government) in each country, must respect if these organisations wish to continue to belong to the Olympic movement,” it said.

The sports ministry last month revived its guidelines to restrict the tenure of the heads of various national sports federations and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), many of which are led by people who have held the posts for decades.

The ministry also suggested that a retirement age of 70 years should be fixed for all members of sports federations.

The ministry had said it wanted “professional management, good governance, transparency” in the sports federations.

The ministry’s guidelines were denounced by IOA president Suresh Kalmadi and sports federation chiefs including V.K. Malhotra (archery), Jagdish Tytler (judo) and S.S. Dhindsa (cycling).

The IOA letter said: “The issue is not whether a limitation on the number of terms of office and/or an age limit within the organisations of the Olympic movement is appropriate or not… Our point is that such measures (which relate to the internal operations of those organisations) must not be decided or imposed by law or an external body’s decision.”

The sports ministry sent a letter to IOC May 7 offering to send a detailed response after IOA produced letters of support from IOC and the Olympic Council of Asia. The ministry offered to send an official to Lausanne, the seat of IOC, to discuss the issue.

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