Wary of the Indian Olympic Association's flip-flop with regard to the barring of charge-sheeted officials from contesting the IOA elections, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) wants irrefutable proof that the necessary amendments carried out this time around have been done in letter and spirit, and that there are no hidden clauses in the modified version.
The IOC director-general, Christophe De Kepper, has demanded that the IOA reconfirm the interpretations in their next meeting to ensure there are no lacunae, failing which the international body will go ahead and impose strict sanctions on the National Olympic Committee (NOC).
In a strongly-worded letter, De Kepper says, "The (charge-sheeted) member concerned must resign immediately…and will not be eligible to run for election. This mechanism must be implemented automatically and will be valid for as long as the charges are framed by the court, as mentioned in this clause. The fact that 'the case will then be referred to the IOA Ethics Commission for further guidance' (i) does not call into question the automatic mechanism mentioned before; and (ii) does not give any authority to the IOA Ethics Commission to recommend to clear or reinstate a member if such member is still faced with charges framed by the court, as mentioned in this clause."
Though the IOA reluctantly amended its constitution, it had left the door open for those officials debarred by this clause. It had decided that such issues (charge-sheeted officials) would be referred to the IOA Ethics Commission "for further guidance". Thus if the Ethics Commission felt so, it could clear the debarred person to seek re-election soon or contest the subsequent election.
But, De Kepper's letter has clipped the IOA's wings, making it amply clear that if the clause was interpreted or implemented differently, the IOC "reserves the right to take the necessary measures and/or sanctions".
Meanwhile, sports minister Jitendra Singh said on Friday that he was happy with the IOA's decision to change its constitution, but added that the NOC should advance its February 9 elections, so that Indian athletes could take part in the Sochi Winter Games under the Indian flag. The Sochi games are from Feb 7-23.