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The International Olympic Committee has suspended India’s membership, according to a report leaked to AFP. If the suspension is upheld, it could bar athletes from the world’s second-most populous country from competing for their country at the Olympic games.The IOC has charged India’s Olympic organising body, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), with meddling in its election process.
The Olympic Charter insists that organising committees for each country remain autonomous and free of government influence. India’s national sports code does not adhere to these requirements, and consequently, a New Delhi court ordered the IOA to hold a vote according to the government’s sports code instead of adhering to the IOC’s charter, according to the AP.
The current candidate running for the IOA presidency, Abhey Singh Chautala, faces no opposing candidates. Chautala is a close ally of former IOA president Suresh Kalmadi, who spent nine months in jail on corruption charges related to the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. “We had explained to the IOC that we were ordered by the Delhi High Court to follow the sports code,” Chautala told AFP. “We could not go against a court order. But we did not get a reply from the IOC.”
If the suspension is upheld, India would no longer receive IOC funding, its officials would be banned from attending Olympic meetings and events, and athletes would not be allowed to compete in the Olympics under the Indian flag.
Chautala called the decision “wrong and one-sided,” but some Indian athletes disagree. India’s only individual Olympic gold medal winner, Abhinav Bindra, tweeted: “Bye Bye IOA, hope to see u again soon, hopefully cleaner!”
Not all think the suspension will last. The Hindu notes that “such a blanket ban from the Olympic Movement, like that of South Africa during its apartheid days, is never imposed by the IOC for violations like the present Indian breach. Nor is the suspension maintained indefinitely.”
However, the IOC and other supranational sporting bodies have dealt with a wave of corruption, including Qatar’s alleged ‘purchase’ of the 2022 World Cup. The suspension may serve as another step in the battle against corruption.
India sent 83 athletes to the 2012 games.
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