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Acting IOA President quits, Indian sports bodies in a disarray

After football and hockey escaped the wrath of being scratched from international participation, India has a bigger worry on hand.

After football and hockey escaped the wrath of being scratched from international participation, India has a bigger worry on hand. Its parent sport body, Indian Olympic Association, is in hot waters.

While the All-India Football Federation (AIFF) has already elected its new body with former Indian goalkeeper Kalyan Chaubey as its President, Hockey India elections are due on October 1. Both football and hockey had to go through long legal battles before the international sports federations – FIFA (football) and FIH (Hockey) – intervened and pressed for fresh elections in accordance with their respective statues.

Now is the turn of the Indian Olympic Association.

It faces the threat of getting disaffiliated from the International Olympic Committee, the body that controls and oversees Olympics – summer, winter and youth.

The IOC has made it clear that the IOA must set its house in order and hold elections before the end of December this year failing which it may be disaffiliated.

The IOC also did not take well to the  Court intervention in the affairs of the Indian Olympic Association.

Though on the directions of the  Court, Anil Khanna,  former President of the Indian tennis Federation, has been working as Acting President of IOA, the IOC objected to it.

IOC maintained that it does not recognise any interim or acting  IOA President.

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Anil Khanna, who once headed the Indian Tennis Federation and who has been a member of the International Tennis Federation, was made acting President of the IOA after  removal of Dr Narendra Dhruv Batra.

Since the latest missive of IOC was clear, Anil Khanna has resigned as the Indian Olympics Association’s (IOA) acting president.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC), however, continued its pressure by reiterating its resolve  to suspend IOA if it did not hold its elections by December. The IOC also maintained that  for it  the IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta will serve as the main point of contact.

Anil Khanna in his letter sent to Rajeev Mehta held that he was quitting for greater harmony within the IOA. He also made it clear that he would not be in the running for the top IOA post as he would be crossing the upper age limit of 70 for holding any important office in IOA. He will turn 70 in July next year.

“…To bring greater harmony within the entire membership of IOA, and in order to achieve the above objective, I have decided to step down from the responsibilities and duties of the President bestowed upon me by the Constitution of IOA and the Hon’ble High Court,” Khanna said in his letter.

Next week  an Indian sports delegation  will go to Lausanne to meet the IOC top brass to present the country’s case and  find an amicable way of restoring the regular functioning of IOA. Besides Rajeev Mehta, it will have Nita Ambani as IOC member, senior officials of the Ministry of Sports and two Vice-Presidents of the IOA.



Prabhjot Singh

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