Hold elections soon or face ban: IOC tells IOA

Olympic rings
The Olympic rings in front of the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. File photo: Reuters/Denis Balibouse

Mumbai: India's Olympic body faces another ban over governance-related issues if it fails to hold elections in the "coming weeks", the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said.

Indian Olympic Association (IOA) elections were due last December but have been held up by a court case seeking to change its constitution in line with rules stipulated by the national sports code.

In a letter sent to the IOA's executive council, the IOC and Olympic Council of Asia said they were following developments "with great concern".

"It is very unfortunate to note that multiple legal proceedings have been initiated, which have only caused delays and created unnecessary complications so far," the letter said, urging the IOA to resolve the situation and confirm the election date "without any further delay".

The letter added that if the IOA failed to organise the elections in the coming weeks the IOC would have other option but to consider protective measures, "including a suspension".

A suspension would cut off IOC funding, block Indian officials from attending Olympic meetings and leave the country's athletes unable to compete under the India flag at the Olympics.

The IOA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The IOA was previously banned at the end of 2012 after elections saw a corruption-tainted official voted in as secretary general.

India returned to the Olympic fold two years later during the 2014 Sochi Winter Games after voting in a new set of officials.

The All India Football Federation is also facing an international ban with FIFA setting it a deadline to complete changes to its constitution and hold elections by Sepember 15.

Narinder Batra, who headed the IOA and the International Hockey Federation (FIH), resigned from both posts on Monday citing "personal reasons".

India's hosting rights of the men's hockey World Cup in January is also under cloud with the FIH deciding to send a delegation to assess the current situation in the wake of Batra's resignation.

Earlier this year India's financial capital Mumbai was picked to host the 2023 IOC session - the first time it is to be held in the country since 1983.

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