IOA could face suspension after IOC sets December deadline

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IOA has been given a last warning by IOC to "resolve its governance concerns" and hold elections by December, or the international governing body may ban India. After Narinder Batra was removed as president, the IOC executive board decided not to recognise any "acting/interim president" also.

" view of the ongoing internal disputes, governance shortcomings and ongoing court cases, (IOC Executive Board) took the decision... to issue a final warning and consider the immediate suspension of the NOC of India at the next IOC Executive Board meeting in December 2022 if, by then, the NOC of India is not able to address and resolve its governance issues to the satisfaction of the IOC, in the interest of the sport and the athletes.

"...and operate properly through its governing bodies, i.e. the Executive Committee and General Assembly, and fulfill its obligations, in particular by holding its quadrennial elections in accordance with the Olympic Charter," the IOC's letter sent to IOA read. The IOC letter sent by James McLeod, Director of Olympic Solidarity and NOC Relations, further said: "During this transition period, and given that the IOC does not currently recognise any interim/acting president of the NOC of India, the NOC Secretary General will serve as the main point of contact to coordinate the next steps with the IOC, in close consultation and in agreement with the NOC Executive Council and General Assembly."

The IOC additionally indicated that, based on how the situation evolves, the Executive Board maintains the right to take any additional action at any point in the process. The IOC also made the decision to reschedule its session, which was originally slated to take place in Mumbai in March of 2019. "In view of the uncertain situation, the IOC Session that is due to take place in Mumbai in May 2023 is postponed until September/October 2023," the letter said.

"Depending on the decisions that will be taken during the IOC Executive Board meeting in December 2022 relating to the NOC of India, the IOC Executive Board will decide as to whether the IOC Session in 2023 should be maintained in India or be relocated."

The IOC said that it will arrange a joint conference with all concerned parties later this month in Lausanne in order to come to a constructive agreement and build a framework leading to the elections of the IOA. "In view of the above, we propose to organise a joint meeting on 27 September 2022 in Lausanne and my colleague Jérôme Poivey, Associate Director, NOC Relations Department, will revert to you and all concerned parties accordingly for the details of this meeting," McLeod said.

Additionally, the IOC had already warned to suspend the IOA if it didn't hold its election as soon as possible. The IOA elections were scheduled for December of last year but were postponed owing to changes made to the voting procedure. The IOA established a six-person committee in December of last year to study the changes that needed to be made to its charter before elections could be held in order to bring it into compliance with the National Sports Code.

Just after Delhi High Court abolished the position of "life member" in Hockey India, via which he had run for and won the top body elections in 2017, Batra was fired as IOA head in May of this year. Later, Batra submitted his letter of resignation to the IOA. Batra had made a statement following his removal by the High Court, declaring his intention not to run in the IOA elections.

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