New Delhi: In a significant move towards resolving the issues that led to India's ban from the Olympic family, the IOC has asked the Indian Olympic Association to fix a date, in consultation with the Sports Minister, for a meeting before the end of this month in its headquarters in Lausanne. Three months after the IOA was banned on the ground of government interference, the IOC has written back to the Indian body for a meeting to discuss a roadmap towards resolving the issues by way of holding elections under a revised constitution.
The letter was written to V K Malhotra, the acting chief of the IOA before it was banned on December 4 last, and IOC member in India Randhir Singh, who was also the Secretary General before the suspension.
"We are writing to you to follow up on our letter of 14 January 2013 and to renew our invitation to you to come to Lausanne together with the Sports Minister of India for a joint meeting with the IOC and OCA. To that effect, we hereby request that you agree with the Sports Minister on a suitable date to come to Lausanne, which should be no later than 31 March 2013, and that you submit a concrete proposal to us by the end of next week," the letter said.
"As soon as we agree on a date, we will of course extend an official invitation to the Sports Minister," said the letter written jointly by Pere Miro, NOC Relations Director of the IOC, and Husain Al-Musallam, Director General and Technical Director of Olympic Council of Asia.
The IOC made it clear that the current IOA dispensation under Abhay Singh Chautala will have no role in the meeting.
"We also request that, for this joint meeting, the suspended IOA be represented by you and by a few other prominent members of Executive Committee of suspended IOA (as it was before the suspension of IOA). In view of this, please submit to us the names and functions of the people who will make up the delegation of the suspended IOA," the letter said.
The Olympic parent body said that the meeting would discuss all the pending issues with the aim to hold a free and fair election under a revised IOA constitution.
"It is indeed the intention of the IOC and OCA to resolve all pending issues as soon as possible, together with the Sports Minister and the suspended IOA. The main purpose of this meeting will be to agree on an action plan and a roadmap, with clear deadlines, to sort out all pending issues and to allow for free, fair, democratic and transparent elections within the IOA on the basis of a revised IOA Constitution and the Olympic Charter, without any outside interference. We thank you for your cooperation and we look forward to receiving your response and proposal by the end of next week," the letter said.
The IOA was banned by the IOC in December last just a day before the controversy-marred elections of the Indian sports apex body for going ahead with the polls under the government's Sports Code. The suspended IOA had gone ahead with the elections despite being told by the IOC against doing that, maintaining that it had applied the Sports Code in its elections under orders from the Delhi High Court.
The IOC had declared the elections "null and void" and refused to recognise the newly elected office bearers. The world body had been making communications only with Malhotra and Randhir since then.