Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Suresh Kalmadi and other sports administrators received a shot in the arm after the International Olympic Council (IOC) rejected Sports Ministry's argument for a tenure limitation regulation, warning such a move might result in India being thrown out of the Olympic family next month.
In a joint letter to Sports Minister M S Gill, IOC National Olympic Committee (NOC) Relations Director Pere Miro and Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) Director General Husain Al-Musallam said if the Ministry insisted on implementing the guidelines, the issue would be referred to the IOC Executive Board meeting next month which may lead to India's by suspension or derecognition of the country from the Olympic family.
"...we would like to remind you, once more, that in the event where the directives issued by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports would be imposed on the Olympic Movement in India (even for future elections) we would be forced to report this case to the next IOC Executive Board meeting (in June) according to the rules of the Olympic Charter," they wrote in the letter on Friday.
The Sports Ministry guideline which restricts National Sports Federation (NSF) including Indian Olympic Association presidents' tenure to 12 years, states that secretaries and treasurers cannot rule for more than eight years at a stretch and advocates a retirement age of 70 for all executives.
Those who would be affected if the guideline comes into effect would be IOA president Suresh Kalmadi and NSF chiefs including VK Malhotra (archery), Jagdish Tytler (judo) and SS Dhindsa (cycling).
Throwing their weight behind IOA and NSFs, Miro and Al-Musallam warned the Sports Ministry against going ahead with the regulation and Rule 28.9 of the Olympic Charter.
That particular rule states "Apart from the measures and sanctions provided in the case of infringement of the Olympic Charter, the IOC Executive Board may take any appropriate decisions for the protection of the Olympic Movement in the country of an NOC, including suspension of or withdrawal of recognition from such NOC if the constitution, law or other regulations in force in the country concerned, or any act by any governmental or other body causes the activity of the NOC or the making or expression of its will to be hampered."
This was in reaction to the May 12 letter sent to IOC by the Sports Ministry in which Joint Secretary I Srinivas had assured that the guideline would not affect the current office bearers of the IOA and NSFs and would be effective from future elections.
Copy of the letter, addressed to Kalmadi as well, was sent to IOC president Jacques Rogge, OCA president Sheikh Ahmad Al-Sabah and IOC member and IOA secretary general Randhir Singh.