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IOC's decision to suspend India is a 'wake-up call': Baichung Bhutia

Press Trust of India
Dec 05, 2012 at 08:40pm IST

New Delhi: Former Indian football captain Baichung Bhutia on Wednesday termed the IOC's decision to suspend India as a "wake-up call" for the country's sports officials and said the IOA should amend its constitution soon in accordance with the Olympic Charter to get out of the mess.

"It's a disappointing situation. I think, it's quite disgraceful in terms of the situation we have come into. The decision has come as a wake-up call (for country's sports administrators) but somewhere I feel it (the suspension) was important. May be, this will change Indian sports for good. Despite all the fiasco, I want the Sports Code to be followed. I still feel the need for the Sports Code (which is similar to the Olympic Charter). The IOA should get the Sports Code amended in their Constitution. I don't think the IOC is going to reject that," Bhutia said on the sidelines of a function here..

In a major embarrassment for India, the IOC had on Tuesday suspended the Indian Olympic Association because of government interference in its election process, a development which puts a bar on the country's Olympic participation. The decision to disaffiliate India was taken on the first day of the IOC's two-day Executive Board meeting in Lausanne.

IOC's decision to suspend India is a wake-up call: Bhutia

The IOC had on Tuesday suspended the Indian Olympic Association because of government interference in its election process.

The IOC said that it decided to ban India as the IOA had failed to comply with Olympic Charter and also allowed a tainted official to contest the elections for a top post. Bhutia, who was in the capital to launch the second generation of the Nike Green Speed boot, the All Conditions Control (ACC) Nike GS2, said that he has no plans to take up any administrative role in the All India Football Federation (AIFF) in the near future.

"I am not eyeing any post in the AIFF at the moment. I am just concentrating on my club United Sikkim FC. I want my club to be one of the best clubs in India but you need a lot of support to make that happen. My biggest challenge at the moment is corporate sponsorship, that's a biggest challenge for me. Sikkim is a very small state and we don't have big corporate houses there," said the chief executive officer of the United Sikkim FC.

He also ruled out suggestions to coach the Indian football team.

"I am not ready yet. On December 8 it's going to be my last match as a coach with the club. We already have a coach Nathan Hall from Australia. He is reaching India on December 7," he said.

Talking about the future of the I-league, Bhutia said, "It needs to be reworked. I-league has to be there but in terms of marketing, packaging, concepts and ideas that will have to change. We have a lot of corporate teams which is not a necessity in India, we need to have teams based out of the city. We need people who are willing to invest in the football."

Bhutia's club, United Sikkim FC, recently suffered a 10-0 drubbing at the hands of Prayag United in an I-League match and the 35-year-old football icon said the defeat was a hard pill to swallow for him.

"It's been quite difficult but we have come over it. Last three away matches we drawn but I still feel that we should have won those matches. I think we are unfortunate because the 50-50 decisions did not go in our favour. Somewhere I felt that we did not get any single decision in our favour."

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