New Delhi: The Indian Olympic Association on lashed out at the Sports Ministry for writing to the IOC regarding the Sports Code's implementation in the upcoming IOA elections, saying that the government's action was an assault on the autonomy of sports bodies in the country.
In a missive to IOC president Jacques Rogge, IOA Acting President Vijay Kumar Malhotra said the letter written by Sports Secretary to the world body was "a bizarre testimony of the half truths and distorted facts by the very senior official of the Government of India".
"IOC had made it clear in the letters to IOA that NOC internal operations, decision making mechanisms, election arrangements, etc., all come under exclusive responsibility and competence of the NOC and must not be subject to any external pressure or interference," Malhotra wrote in the letter.
"The number of terms of the office-bearers and a potential age limit for the members of NOC or NSF shall not be decided or imposed by law or external body's decision but shall be decided by respective organisations," Malhotra said.
He said he was "surprised at the audacity of the Sports Ministry to misrepresent the IOA at the highest international forum".
"To start with, the very fact that Mr. Deb has directly written to you and the IOC bypassing the Indian Olympic Association, shows the Government's intentions, interests and interference in the affairs of the IOA," he said.
On Wednesday, the Ministry wrote to Rogge, seeking a meeting with the IOC representatives to be held in India and said that the upcoming elections to the IOA should be postponed to a future date.
Malhotra said the IOA has no issues with such a meeting provided the Government's Sports Code is kept in abeyance. "As for as Mr. Dev's suggestion of a meeting between the IOA, IOC and Government of India's officials, I have no objection provided Sports Ministry puts the Sports Code in abeyance," Malhotra said.
Taking strong objection to Sports Secretary P K Deb writing to IOC president about the IOA, Malhotra charged the Sports Ministry of double speak. "The double speak of the Government of India is clear as on one hand it says that it has no 'intentions whatsoever to interfere in the functioning of the IOA' and on the other it is insisting that National Sports Federations (NSF) should accept its so called Sports Code," he wrote.
"Just to give you an example, the Sports Ministry of the GOI has written to me seeking the information regarding the just-held elections of the office bearers of Archery Association of India (AAI). It seeks details of age and tenures held by the office-bearers," said Malhotra, who has been the AAI chief for the last 40 years and re-elected to the post recently.
Malhotra said that the Sports Code was at the centre of its tussle with Sports Ministry and it outrightly rejects its implementation in the upcoming polls.
"The only bone of contention between IOA and Government is the Sports Code which we have rejected outrightly. The Sports Code of the GOI violates everything for which the IOA constitution and the IOC charter stand for. Sports Code is exactly opposite to the Olympic Charter."
On the issue of the Sports Ministry suggesting to the IOC that the IOA lacks transparency and good governance, Malhotra said, "The IOA has been very transparent in its dealing and actions. It has followed the principles of Good Governance as desired by the IOC. IOA's constitution has been amended as per the IOC charter and has been approved by the IOC and to say that IOA lacks good governance is patently wrong."