IOC’s Bach: India could be kicked out of Olympics
India faces the ultimate sanction of expulsion from the Olympics
unless it keeps corruption-tainted officials out of its ranks, IOC
President Thomas Bach said in an interview with The Associated
Bach said the IOC is prepared to withdraw recognition of the
Indian Olympic Association if it fails to comply with ”rules of
good governance” by Tuesday, a punishment that would leave the
world’s second-most populous nation out of all Olympic
”It’s about the principles,” Bach said. ”Good governance for
the IOC is a key issue. We need to be strict and to make sure the
rules of good governance are being applied.”
If India is thrown out, it would be the first time a country has
been kicked out of the Olympic movement since South Africa was
expelled for its racial segregation policies more than 40 years
The Indian Olympic body is scheduled to meet Sunday in New Delhi
to consider amending its constitution to meet the IOC’s directive.
If there is no breakthrough, the International Olympic Committee
executive board is set to recommend ”de-recognition” of the
Indian committee at its meeting on Tuesday in Lausanne.
”`We will see if there is any last-moment movement,” Bach
said. ”If not, then we have to consider to take the next
The IOC suspended the Indian body a year ago because of
government interference in its election process. While many of the
issues have been resolved since then, the Indians have yet to agree
to the IOC demand to bar officials who have been charged with a
criminal offense – an impasse that has led to the final
”The (Olympic) charter is clear,” Bach said. ”If the
suspension leads to no solution, then further steps could be
withdrawal of recognition.”
It would be the first major ruling of the IOC board under Bach,
who was elected president on Sept. 10, succeeding Jacques Rogge.
Bach is the former president of Germany’s national Olympic
The IOC executive board could take a preliminary decision on
withdrawing recognition of India. A final ruling would go to the
full IOC, which next meets in early February in Sochi, Russia, on
the eve of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
”Withdrawal of recognition would mean there is no NOC (National
Olympic Committee) any more in India,” Bach said. ”That means no
participation, no subsidies.”
Under the current suspension, the Indian body has stopped
receiving IOC funding and its officials have been banned from
attending Olympic meetings and events. India’s athletes are barred
from competing in Olympic events under their national flag.
Stripping India completely of IOC recognition would leave the
country without any Olympic involvement. It would keep Indian
athletes out of the Olympics and related events such as the Asian
Games. Other international federations could also follow suit.
The IOC has given athletes from suspended nations the chance to
compete as individuals under the Olympic flag. It’s unclear what
options could be open to Indian athletes if their Olympic body is
”In the Olympics we would have to see whether we would find
individual solutions, but they could in no way represent India,”
Bach said. ”We always want to protect the interest of the
athletes. We have to consider a way. I cannot tell you what the
result will be.”
The IOC said India has three athletes, including two skiers and
a luger, who have qualified for the Sochi Games. Sanctions would
hurt more for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. India’s
participation could be affected for the 2014 Asian Games in
Incheon, South Korea.
The IOC has been involved in discussions with India for months.
The main issue stems from last year’s election of IOA
secretary-general Lalit Bhanot, who had been jailed for 10 months
in a corruption case related to the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New
The IOC has told the Indian body that anyone charged with an
offense by Indian police should be barred from holding office. The
Indians have proposed that the directive be limited to barring only
those found guilty and sentenced to a jail term of two or more
years by a court.
”This is the only remaining point,” Bach said. ”It’s about
good governance and nothing else at this moment. All the other
issues have been solved in cooperation with the NOC, with the
The IOC formally expelled South Africa from the Olympics in
1970. The country, which had last competed at the 1960 Olympics,
returned to the fold at the 1992 Barcelona Games.
In recent years, the IOC suspended the national Olympic bodies
of Kuwait, Ghana and Panama for political interference, but all
were eventually reinstated.