NEW DELHI (AP) — International Olympic Committee member Randhir Singh said on Tuesday the body will consider lifting a ban on the Indian Olympic Association only if it holds free and fair elections based on the Olympic charter.
Randhir said the IOC has written to him asking for fresh elections, saying it will not engage with the IOA office-bearers elected last month in polls already declared illegal by the IOC over the manner of their conduct. Abhay Singh Chautala was elected IOA president and Lalit Bhanot the secretary-general in last month's elections.
"We're hoping things will be sorted out soon," said Randhir, who was the secretary-general before the latest elections. "The IOC wants to meet representatives of the Indian government and has also written another letter to various national associations, warning then not to be associated with Chautala and other officials currently running the IOA."
Randhir said the letter, signed by IOC director of national Olympic committee relations, Pere Miro, and Olympic Council of Asia Director General Husain Al-Musallam, wants its conditions to be a prerequisite for the IOC to consider lifting the suspension.
"The suspended IOA must be in a position to hold free, fair, transparent and credible elections without any external interference and exclusively on the basis of Olympic Charter and IOA's Constitution," the IOA said in the letter shared with the media. "For that purpose, relevant government authorities definitively amend or repeal any government regulations or laws which interfere with autonomous functioning and internal operations."
The IOC last month suspended the IOA for failing to comply with the Olympic Charter and its statutes and for failing to inform the IOC in a timely manner.
The IOC had asked the IOA to adhere to its own constitution and not follow a government sports code. But the IOA went ahead with the election process, citing a Delhi High Court order that said the polls should be in line with the code.
The IOC's ethics commission had also advised that tainted officials shouldn't hold administrative posts, but Bhanot was declared elected unopposed despite spending 11 months in jail for corruption cases related to the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.
Suresh Kalmadi, who headed the IOA for 16 years, decided not to seek re-election after graft charges relating to the Commonwealth Games but backed Chautala and Bhanot.