Let me start of by saying I have little interest in sport (except, out of loyalty, for cricket), but this story about the International Olympic Committee suspending the Indian olympic body not only caught my eye, it made me laugh.
Here’s how the semi-official Press Trust of India reported it:
“The decision was largely expected after the IOA decided to go ahead with the elections on Wednesday under the government’s Sports Code, defying the IOC’s diktat to hold the polls under the Olympic Charter. …
“The IOC had repeatedly told the IOA not follow the code for the elections on the ground that it would be a violation of the Olympic Charter and compromise autonomy. But the IOA went ahead saying they were bound by the Delhi High Court order.”
Of course, this is sad for the many Indian athletes who will no doubt suffer because the IOC’s expected move (it’s to be announced later today) means the IOA will stop getting money from the IOC, and Indian athletes will be prevented from competing in Olympic events under the Indian flag; they can, however, compete under the IOC’s auspices.
Then what’s funny? As anyone who knows Indian sports officialdom will tell you, this is perhaps the world’s greatest collection of self-obsessed, sad men whose usefulness has long passed their sell-by date. It isn’t uncommon for promising athletes to be treated like the servants of said officials; it’s also not uncommon for international athletic meets to see almost as many officials as athletes.
Sadly, in the world of global sports, India is an also-ran, so the autocratic moves by Indian officialdom can only be matched by a body that’s more autocratic than it. Enter, the IOC.
This is not cricket after all, where every move by the Board of Cricket Control in India had global ramifications because it’s the world’s biggest market for the game (and the other cricket boards grin and bear it); this is the Olympics.
What India does in the world of global sports is like the proverbial tree falling in the forest. To put it mildly, no one cares — except the IOC. But I’m quite confident of a swift resolution of the issue, after all the suspension means Indian officials can no longer attend Olympic meetings and events.