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India's sports bureaucracy booted from the Olympics

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“One option before the IOC is to set-up an ad hoc committee to oversee the participation of Indian sports-persons under the IOC flag rather than the Indian flag,” says veteran Indian sports journalist Pradeep Magazine.

The IOC had warned it could take this extreme step as the Indian Olympic Association was holding elections under guidelines set by the Indian government, and not according to its own constitution. The IOC did not want the national government to undermine the autonomy of the IOA.

"The Executive Board decided to suspend the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) due to its failure to comply to the Olympic charter and its statute, fail to inform the IOC in a timely manner, and as a protective measure to government interference in the election process," says IOC Director of Communications Mark Adams.

"To preserve the autonomy is 50 percent of the decision, while the other 50 percent is the bad governance of the IOA itself," he adds. "When we will have both things that will be reversed, the IOC will reanalyze the situation and lift the suspension.

The Indian sports minister Jitendra Singh has blamed the IOA for the embarrassment. "The Indian Olympic Association is to blame for the current crisis. We told the IOA many times to amend its constitution and be compliant with the international rules," he told the Press Trust of India.

Beyond the technicalities, the issue is corruption and in-fighting among two factions within the Indian Olympic Association. IOC member Randhir Singh withdrew his candidature for the post of secretary-general of the Indian Olympic Association a month ago, leaving only one candidate in the race, Lalit Bhanot. Mr. Bhanot is out on bail after having served 11 months in jail for corruption charges in the XIX Commonwealth Games the IOA organized in Delhi in 2010.

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