In a major embarrassment for India, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has fined the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) $10,000 (about Rs 6.08 lakh) for withdrawing two teams at the eleventh hour, after having confirmed their entry in the 17th Asian Games at Incheon.
The fine is a fall-out of the tug-of-war between the IOA and the Centre over the size of the Indian contingent.
Top IOA sources told HT on Saturday that the OCA took a serious view of India pulling out the rugby 7s and beach volleyball teams at the last minute, forcing the organisers to alter the draw and scheduling. “The OCA general body severely reprimanded the IOA and imposed a fine of $10,000,” said the source. “It’s not about the money, but the fact that India has been ticked off is more disconcerting.”
The IOA had initially sent a provisional list to the OCA. No fine would have been imposed had it stopped at that, but soon after it sent a confirmation too, following which the OCA forwarded the list to the Incheon Asian Games Organising Committee (IAGOC) to set the draw.
The national Olympic committee started the mess after it delayed sending the names of the jumbo squad to the sports ministry. The sports minister then referred the matter of pruning the contingent to the prime minister.
When the final list came from the PMO, several disciplines were dropped. The ministry also told the IOA that all athletes would be sent on government cost and those excluded would not be allowed to go to Incheon.
This resulted in IOA having to withdraw some teams despite the OCA warning that doing so would invite action.