NEW DELHI (TIP): The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has refused to lift the suspension on the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) which is in force since December last year, and gave the Indian body a new deadline to set its house in order while asking it to “seize the golden opportunity” to show its readiness to implement the “basic principles of good governance, ethics and integrity”. At its executive board meeting in Buenos Aires, IOC asked the Indian body to meet before October 31 and suitably amend its constitution.

The parent body wants IOA frame rules that would disqualify any person charged in court for a criminal or corruption-related case, from running for office. Once the revised constitution is approved by the IOC, the world body said IOA could go for elections before December 15. The world body said while IOA’s August 25 meeting was a “success” since it most of the members were present and most amendments proposed by it were adopted, not enough was done. “The IOC noted that a key provision on which the IOC repeatedly insisted during the preparation phase for the revision of the IOA constitution was not included as requested by the IOC, namely the clause which provides that any member who has been charge-framed by any court in India in respect of a criminal or corruption offence…will not be eligible to run for IOA elections and will be provisionally suspended until a final ruling,” the IOC said in a letter to the IOA.

The IOC decision will leave the Indian athletes without the umbrella they need to compete abroad under the Indian flag. For the past eight months they have been competing under the Olympic flag, which has caused a lot of anguish and heartburn among the athletes. IOC’s decision came after IOA refused to include an eligibility clause in its constitution which would have barred persons charged by courts to contest its election. After its executive board meeting held in Buenos Aires on Wednesday, the IOC took the decision after taking note of the fact that IOA had refused to adopt the eligibility clause as requested by the world body regarding amendments to IOA’s constitution. “The executive board heard a report that the general assembly (of IOA) had approved most of the amendments to the IOA’s constitution requested by the IOC, but one specific clause had not been adopted. This clause, which deals specifically with the eligibility of members, is key to the good governance of the NOC (national Olympic committee) and needs to be fully accepted before the suspended IOA can proceed with the elections,” IOC said after the meeting.