New Delhi: Sports Ministry hits back at IOC

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New Delhi, Mar 25: The Sport Ministry today hit back at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for trying to blackmail it and prevent it from bringing transparency in Indian sports.

The IOC earlier, in its letter to Sports Ministry had warned it against enforcing the age and tenure limitation guidelines on India's National Sports Federations, saying such a move would jeopardise the country's participation in international events including the Olympics.

Taking exception to the letter, the ministry today said that it will not succumb to such pressures from the IOC.

"We will not succumb to such pressure. It is nothing but a kind of blackmail. Our intentions are to bring about transparency in Indian sports and we want to go ahead with it," ministry sources said.

The letter was addressed to the new sports minister Ajay Maken, who has proposed a sports bill in the Parliament which fixes tenures and age for NSF heads. Where the IOC had said while it does not intend to interfere, it would still keep an eye on the contents of the bill.

"We have been informed that your Ministry has proposed a preliminary draft of new sports legislation in India. It is, of course, not the intention of the IOC to interfere directly in this process, and we fully understand and respect the fact that such process is under the jurisdiction of the relevant Government authorities in India," the letter had stated.

"Nevertheless, it is our understanding that the organisations of the Olympic Movement in India (in particular the NOC and National Federations) would be directly impacted and affected by this new sports legislation.

"...the autonomy and the jurisdiction of each entity shall be mutually respected whilst ensuring the best possible cooperation with the Government authorities, as partners," it added.

The IOC said the ministry should not interfere in the election process of the NSFs by enforcing any criteria.

"By way of example, we fully understand that if the national sports organisations receive public funds, they must, logically and legitimately, be accountable for the use of such specific funds to the public authorities concerned.

"This must not, however, be used by the Government authorities to justify interference in the internal operation of these organisations or to treat them as public authorities (which they are not)," the IOC said.

"It should rather contribute, complementarily and jointly, to the development of these organisations and thus sporting activity as a whole.

"Consequently, the internal operations (including the composition of the bodies, decision-making mechanisms, holding of meetings, election process, age limit (if any), number of terms for the elected office-bearers, mechanisms for resolving disputes, etc.) of the national sports organisations shall come under the exclusive jurisdiction of these respective sports organisations," it added.

PTI

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