India will incur the International Olympic Committee‘s wrath and might even be suspended if it goes ahead with administrative reforms enshrined in the Draft National Sports Code 2017, the IOA has warned, rejecting the proposed document completely.
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) also expressed surprise with the government’s move to seek feedback on the draft after the Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, on October 11, announced the formation of a committee to look into the contentious provisions such age and tenure cap on officials, which are being opposed by National Sports Federations.
Despite the announcement by Rijiju, the ministry, through its Director (Sports), sent a letter to the IOA on October 24 to send feedback on the Draft National Sports Code latest by November 10.
IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta, in turn, sent a note rejecting the changes proposed by the 2017 Draft National Sports Code.
“We, the IOA and all our members, outrightly reject the new Draft Sports Code as it interferes in the autonomy of the IOA and its members. The Sports Code was discussed with GOI MYAS and implemented in 2014 in IOA Statutes which enabled IOA to regain its recognition in 2012,” Mehta said in the feedback letter sent to the ministry.
“Any further interference in IOA Autonomy will also be taken seriously by IOC and OCA and can once again lead to suspension of membership IOA. We certainly hope that it is not the intention of the Sports Ministry to send Indian contingent to Tokyo in 2020 Olympics under IOC Flag and not the Indian Flag.”
The IOA was suspended by the IOC in December 2012 for government interference and was reinstated 14 months later after assurances on autonomy.
Expressing surprise at the insistence of the ministry to furnish feedback on the Draft Sports Code, he wrote: “We are willing to work together by forming a small committee to take it forward as was agreed on 11.10.2019 and we sincerely hope that MYAS will also stand by what was conveyed to IOA & NSF’s in the 11th October 2019 meeting.”
The National Sports Code 2011 is currently in force but a new National Sports Code was drafted in 2017.
The draft proposed drastic changes in the 2011 Code, including barring of ministers, members of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies and government servants from holding office in National Sports Federations (NSF) and the IOA, tenure restrictions and age cap of 70 years. The draft also widened its scope to all office-bearers and board members of the IOA and NSFs.
It also calls on the NSFs to appoint CEOs, Nominee Directors, and an Ombudsman. Besides, an eminent athlete is also required to be a part of the NSFs. All NSFs will also have to constitute an athlete’s commission.
If implemented, the IOA and the NSFs will have six months to amend their constitutions as prescribed by the draft.