[Polity] Indian Olympic Association Suspension from IOC, National Sports Code: controversy, implications explained

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Mrunal New Economy Course for UPSC
  1. What is IOC?
  2. What is Indian Olympic Association?
  3. Jurisdiction over Sports
  4. How can Union Government regulate sport?
  5. National Sports Development Code 2011
  6. What does National Sports Code say about elections?
  7. Delhi High Court verdict on IOA/NSF election
  8. Why did IOC ban IOA?
  9. Implication of IOA’s Suspension?
  10. De-recognition by Government ?
  11. Why Archery and Boxing Banned?
  12. Mock Questions

What is IOC?

  • International Olympic Committee.
  • It is the supreme authority for organizing Olympic Games.
  • Created by Pierre de Coubertin (the father of Modern Olympics)
  • Motto: Citius, Altius, Fortius (Latin) =Faster, Higher, Stronger.
  • HQ: Switzerland.

Next Olympics:

City Country Year
Winter Olympics Sochi Russia 2014
(Summer) Olympics Rio De Janeiro Brazil 2016

What is IOA?

  • Indian Olympics Association IOA is responsible for sending Indian Sportsmen to
  1. Olympic Games
  2. Commonwealth games
  3. Asian Games
  • IOA is also responsible for organizing National Games.

Jurisdiction over Sports

  • Constitution of India: Seventh schedule  provides the separation of legislative powers
Who What Total items
List I Union Only Union (parliament) can make laws in these matters. 100
List II State Only State legislature can make laws in these matters. 61
List III Concurrent Both union + state 52
  • And only (Union) Parliament can make laws for residuary matters, i.e. topics that are not covered in Iist I, II and III
  • Sports, cinema, theatre, amusement: these matters fall under jurisdiction of State List (item No. 33). So the first question is

How can Union Government regulate sport?

  • For long, the National Sports Federations (NSF) and Indian Olympic association (IOA) have maintained that they’re autonomous and independent. They’re only accountable to their respective international bodies for example, BCCI to ICC, IOA to IOC.
  • Therefore, Government shouldnot, cannot and must not interfere with their internal functioning!

But in 2010, Delhi High court gave following verdict:

  1. Yes, National Sports Federations  have autonomy to conduct sports. BUT international sporting events  are  an essential part of diplomatic relations (Foreign affairs). That matter falls under Union list, 7th Schedule.
  2. Although Sports, cinema, entertainment fall under State List, 7th schedule BUT there are issues such as “whether we should participate in a sports event held in a particular country or not?” That’d require diplomatic clearance from Union Government.
  3. Therefore, Union Government has full jurisdiction to make regulations and laws on National Sports Federations (NSF) and Indian Olympic Association (IOA).

National Sports Development Code 2011

Ministry of Youth and Sports, created National Sports Development Code, 2011 to set out guidelines for election and working of IOA and NSFs.

The National Sports Code deals with many things such as

  1. Fair and transparent elections for Indian Olympic Association IOA/NSF
  2. Age-tenure limit for Office bearers of IOA/NSF
  3. Sexual harassment of Women athletes
  4. Selection of coaches
  5. Anti-Doping rules
  6. Making them answerable under Right to Information Act (R.T.I).

What does National Sports Code say about elections?

  1. You cannot serve as President of  Indian Olympic Association IOA/NSF for more than 12 years. (4 years x 3 terms)
  2. If you’ve already held any of these posts for more than 12 years, you cannot not compete in the elections.
  3. If your age is 70 years or above, you’re not eligible for the post of President, Secretary General or the Treasurer of IOA/NSF.

Delhi High Court verdict on IOA/NSF election

A PIL was filed in Delhi High court that most of national sports federations are mismanaged and have become feudal empires of politicians, they donot retire and keep getting elected again and again.

This has led to gross mismanagement of Sports. For example

  • For example, Mr Vijay Kumar Malhotra, age 80 (BJP) has been President of the Archery association since 1973.
  • Similarly the infinitely awesome Suresh Kalmadi (Congress) has been President of Indian Olympic Association for last 19 years.

In September 2012, Delhi High Court gave judgement on this PIL and ordered IOA and NSFs to conduct elections according to the National Sports Code.

Why did IOC ban IOA?

  • Indian Olympic Association IOA had to conduct elections, according to National sports code (meaning buddha-log cannot compete etc.).
  • If IOA did not follow National sports code, it’d amount to contempt (disrespect) to Delhi High court’s’s order = Jail time for IOA officials.
  • So they conducted elections according to National Sports Code, in Dec 2012.
  • But Internation Olympic Committee (IOC) did not like it. Not one Bit.
  • IOC had repeatedly told the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) not to follow the government’s sports code for the elections because it would imply that Government is interfering in sports. That’ll be a violation of the Olympic Charter and compromise of sports autonomy.
  • Therefore when IOA conducted the elections, IOC suspended IOA.

Implication of IOA’s Suspension?

It leads to following consequences:

  1. International Olympic Committee (IOC) gives about 90,000 dollars per year to every nation’s Olympic association + other monetary help in training, coaching, scholarships etc. India will no longer receive it.
  2. The officials of Indian Olympic Association, will not be invited by the IOC to attend its events like the Olympics and Paralympics.
  3. Indian athletes will not be allowed to compete under the Indian flag.
  4. However, Indian athletes can to compete as “as Independent Olympic Athletes” But that means whatever new medals Sushil Kumar or Mary Kom wins, they will not be counted as medals won by “India”.

This is not the first time. Other countries have been banned in past

Country Why suspended?
  1. South Africa
for its apartheid policy (i.e. policy of discriminating between black and while people).
  1. Kuwait
For Government  interference.
  1. Netherlands Antilles
  2. South Sudan
for not forming their national Olympic Committees.

But then things are sorted out with “dialogues and peaceful negotiations”.

De-recognition by Government ?

  • Except BCCI, no sports federation in India gets earns truckload of money. So they depend on Government for ca$h and patronage.
  • If any Sports Federation doesn’t fall in line with Government regulations then Government can “De-recognize” it.

Derecognition leads to following outcomes:

  1. Those Sport federations will not receive cash from Government.
  2. They cannot use word “India” while sending teams into international sporting events.
  3. They cannot claim exemption in custom duty payment while importing sports equipments from abroad.
  4. Athletes who win the tournaments organized by such unrecognized NSFs, cannot claim job-reservation in Railways, Income Tax Department etc under Sports Quota.

Why Archery and Boxing Banned?

  • After IOC suspended IOA, the Government of India also got in “mood and tempo” and has derecognized Indian Archery and Boxing associations. But the reason is different.
  • Recently Archery Association held elections for its president and same Mr.Vijay Malhotra (age 80) got re-elected. Similarly Boxing federation’s election was not held in transparent manner.
  • So this is against the National Development Code.
  • Besides Delhi High Court had ordered Government that if any National sports federation doesn’t follow the code then you must deregonize it.


Once Archery and Boxing associations will have conduct elections again, and comply with National Sports Code,then they’ll be “re-recognized” (if there such a word in dictionary).

Mock Questions

Q1 Find Correct Statements:

  1. Next Winter Olympics = Vancouver, Canada
  2. Next Summer Olympics = Madrid, Spain
  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. Both
  4. None

Q2. Find Incorrect Statements:

  1. International Olympic Committee (IOC) is a specialized agency of UN.
  2. Motto of Olympics is Citius, Altius, Latius
  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. Both
  4. None

Q3 Which of the following is incorrectly matched?

  1. Union List
Marriage and Divorce
  1. State List
  1. Concurrent List
Betting and Gambling
  1. Only 2
  2. Only 1 and 3
  3. Only 2 and 3
  4. Only 1 and 2

Q4. Wrong Statements

  1. In 2012, Kabaddi World cup was held at Chandigarh, Punjab.
  2. The mascot for this game was JAANBAZ, the eagle.
  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. Both
  4. None

Q5. Which of the following is not a function of Indian Olympic Association?

  1. Sending Indian Athletes to Asian Games.
  2. Sending Indian Athletes to Commonwealth Games.
  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. Both
  4. None
Indian History Freedom Struggle Pratik Nayak

176 Comments on “[Polity] Indian Olympic Association Suspension from IOC, National Sports Code: controversy, implications explained”

  1. Sir, would you please let me know that before Delhi high court verdict of 2010 on which the national sports development code 2011 was made by Ministry of Youth & sports, on the basis of which the Ministry of youth & sports was granting fund to the different sports associations?

  2. Excellent sir.

  3. Hi, Well written simple yet comprehensive! So what is the way forward? 1) How does the Govt intends to reconcile with IOC 2) What sort of comprehensive amendments required to regularize sports committees in List 1-3?

  4. Thank you so much for the wonderful article..
    Can someone who has already received the collection, mail me the zip files…



  5. thanx sir u describe every news in very lucid manner again thanx for this guidance.

  6. Thanks for explaining propèrly

  7. Thanks for explaining propèrly

  8. Sir,

    You mentioned that those sporting organization who do not follow the regulations as laid down by the Government, they stand deemed to be de-recognized and they can’t use the word “India” while sending teams for any international sporting events. I have a doubt here. BCCI does not follow the Government regulations but still how are they allowed to use the word “India” when the team participates in any event? Please explain. Thanks in advance.

  9. MCQ’S

    if i am wrong pls correct it

  10. the zip file of mrunal sir’s articles

  11. mrunal sir if u can reply to query it will be gr8….if ioa din have gone with hc ruling it would have been contempt of court and when they followed hc …ioc says its against our charter ….plz clr on this

  12. ooooh! I learned this at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary (hmmm will they chagne their name now that there is a second one?) anyway, competitors have to participate in international events and place in the top 30% or top 50 competitors in order to participate in Olympic events. Totally a whack rule, otherwise I would so kick it at curling!

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