IOC threatens to suspend India and Kuwait

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland — The IOC is threatening to suspend the national Olympic committees of India and Kuwait because of government interference.

The International Olympic Committee said on Friday it will consider imposing the sanctions at its executive board meeting in Lausanne on Dec. 4-5 unless the situations are resolved.

Suspension would mean the national bodies would no longer receive IOC funding and its officials would be banned from attending Olympic meetings and events. The countries’ athletes would also be barred from competing in the Olympics under their national flags, although the IOC could allow them to do so under the Olympic flag.

In a statement, the IOC said it has expressed “severe concerns” for more than two years about interference in elections for the Indian Olympic Association.

The Indian body has been torn by confusion and wrangling over elections to replace Suresh Kalmadi, who was jailed for corruption involving the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

The vote, originally scheduled for Sunday, has been postponed to Dec. 5 following the resignation of election commission chairman S Y Quraishi.

The IOC also cited concerns that the elections would take place based on government regulations rather than the Indian body’s constitution and the Olympic Charter.

“Should this be the case, and as previously warned, the results of such elections would not be recognized by the IOC,” the statement said. “The IOC’s position has been expressed to all parties concerned on numerous occasions. However, the IOA has been unable to resolve these pending issues satisfactorily.

“The IOA has also failed to keep the IOC informed in a timely manner or ensure close coordination. For these reasons, the IOA is now at risk of suspension by the IOC.”

Kalmadi, who headed the IOA for 16 years, recently bowed to pressure and decided not to seek re-election. He spent nine months in jail for graft charges related to the Commonwealth Games. Another veteran administrator, Vijay Kumar Malhotra, has been running the association as acting president.

Meanwhile, the IOC also said it’s prepared to impose a new suspension on Kuwait.

The Kuwaiti body was suspended for more than two years until July following guarantees that new sports legislation would be passed to end government interference in the Olympic committee’s affairs.

But the IOC said Kuwait failed to enact the new laws by Thursday’s deadline.

“The relevant authorities of the state of Kuwait bear all responsibility for this regrettable situation, which is dramatically affecting the country’s sporting family,” the IOC said.

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