New Delhi: The International Olympic Committee has refused to recognise the elections conducted by the suspended Indian Olympic Association, saying the "so-called" office-bearers have no legitimacy. The IOA went ahead and conducted its elections despite being suspended by the IOC and the world body has now even threatened legal action.
"The suspended Indian Olympic Association is no longer entitled to exercise any activity or right conferred upon it by the Olympic Charter or the IOC. The IOC does not and will not recognise the so-called 'elections' which the suspended Indian Olympic Association decided to conduct in violation of the IOC directives. These so-called 'elections' are null and void and the so-called 'elected office-bearers' have no legitimacy to claim to represent or act on behalf of the suspended Indian Olympic Association in any capacity whatsoever," the IOC Director General Christophe De Kepper said in a strongly-worded letter to the IOA..
The IOC said that the "so-called elected office-bearers", including new President Abhay Singh Chautala and Secretary General Lalit Bhanot, will not have access to the IOA funds. They are not entitled to access the suspended Indian Olympic Association's bank accounts and the funds of the Olympic Movement. The IOC reserves the right to take any legal action against any misuse of the remaining Olympic Movement funds which may still be available on the account of the suspended Indian Olympic Association," the letter said.
The IOA went ahead and conducted its elections despite being suspended by the IOC.
"There is no change concerning the current office-bearers of the suspended Indian Olympic Association, with Mr (Vijay Kumar) Malhotra as Acting President (provided he does not act against the IOC directives) and Mr Randhir Singh as Secretary General of the suspended Indian Olympic Association," the letter added.
The IOC said defiance of the IOC directives will make it tougher for the IOA to come back into the Olympic movement.
"It is regrettable to note that by continuing to act against the IOC directives, the suspended Indian Olympic Association is considerably aggravating its situation," it said.
In a major embarrassment for India, the IOC had on Tuesday suspended the IOA because of government interference in itselection 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 elections for a top post.
The decision was largely expected after the IOA decided to go ahead with the elections on Friday under the government's Sports Code, defying the IOC's diktat to hold the polls under the Olympic Charter.