India’s legal troubles drag on as international suspension looms

SwimSwam will periodically update you on the biggest news from the Olympic and Paralympic world outside of water sports. Learn about Indian Olympic Association’s latest efforts to avoid international suspension, USA Gymnastics considering Roe v. Wade for future site picks, updates regarding Russian athlete bans, and more.

The Indian Olympic Association remains in hot water

Despite three Indian Supreme Court rulings last week, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) is no closer to avoiding another suspension from international competition.

Last month, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) sent the IOA a letter threatening the possibility of suspension if the organization does not hold long-awaited elections in the coming weeks. Elections were due to take place last December, but were delayed by a court case seeking to amend its constitution in accordance with rules stipulated by the national sports code.

“It is very regrettable to note that multiple legal proceedings have been initiated, which have only caused delays and created unnecessary complications so far,” says the letter from the IOC, which urges the IOA to resolve the situation. and to confirm an election date “without further delay”. delay.”

But last Tuesday, India’s High Court appointed a Committee of Trustees (CoA) to run the IOA over its failure to uphold the national sports code. It was a strange decision given that FIFA had just suspended the Indian Football Federation for being supported by a similar court order.

Then on Thursday, the Supreme Court backtracked after hearing testimony that the decision could trigger an international suspension.

“IOA maintains that there is every chance of losing the opportunity to participate in the Olympics and other international events,” said the bench, which also included judge CT Ravi Kumar. “Given the urgency expressed, we ask the parties to maintain the status quo. It is clearly stated that the charge will not be transferred to the CoA. »

On Monday, India’s High Court upheld its ruling blocking the CoA’s takeover of the IOA and scheduled a follow-up case in four weeks. The Supreme Court also removed the office of “president for life” and any permanent positions within the organization, setting the length of terms at “three terms”. But by the time the High Court hears the case again in a month, Indian athletes could already face penalties for something beyond their control.

A suspension by the IOC would cut off key IOA funding, prevent Indian officials from attending Olympic meetings and prevent athletes from competing under the Indian flag at the Olympics.

This is not the first time that the IOA has had problems with the IOC. In late 2012, the IOA received a ban from the IOC following the election of a corrupt official as Secretary General. After voting for new officials, the IOA regained its Olympic status for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.

The latest AIO controversy reached a new level in July when the former president Narinder Batra resigned in July. He is under investigation for embezzlement from Hockey India.

USA Gymnastics will consider abortion laws in future site selections

As the United States Gymnastics Championships wrap up Sunday in Tampa, Florida, the federation’s chief executive tells The Associated Press that local abortion laws will be considered in future venue selections. .

“We want to be able to align with cities and places that are also aligned with our value system,” Li Li Leung said. “We are about empowerment. We are about choice. We are talking about agency.

Tampa was chosen to host this year’s senior nationals in January, months before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Following this ruling, Florida banned abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy with limited exceptions.

Two major competitions are currently scheduled for next year in Katy, Texas: the American Cup in July and a World Championship Trials in September. Last year, Texas passed a law banning abortion after about six weeks.

Russian and Belarusian bans are still relevant

IOC President Thomas Bach recently reiterated its stance on banning Russia and Belarus from international competition as punishment for their ongoing war against Ukraine.

“Those responsible for this war of aggression must be punished: it is the Russian government,” Bach said. “We managed to appeal to all international federations so that there are no international sporting events in Russian and Belarusian. We have issued this recommendation and it remains in effect. Now is not the time to reverse this recommendation and change your position. We also recommend not to invite Russian or Belarusian athletes: no anthems, no flags, no colors.

“I am grateful to the international federations for following us,” he added. “That athletes who support the war, who appear or advertise with the famous ‘Z’, be punished.”

president of the IPC Andrew Parson indicated that the question of Russian and Belarusian participation in Paris could be answered in November.

“What I can say is that we had a very strong position from our own members at the Beijing conference. [Winter Paralympic Games against Russian and Belarusian participation]and that to me was really impressive and really good to see how the movement will go in that direction,” Parsons said.

“If our movement decided that it [Russia and Belarus] will not be at [Paris] The games, yes, some athletes will be missed but the sport will survive.

Paralympic inclusion at the Commonwealth Games is not an Olympic precursor

The inclusion of 42 Paralympic events at the Commonwealth Games earlier this month was a success, but a similar partnership at the Olympics doesn’t seem likely anytime soon.

“Since 1988 we have seen exponential growth in Paralympic sport,” said Craig Spence, head of communications for the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). “We are on a strong climb and we are growing the Games, so combining the two events could potentially delay and jeopardize that growth, and we could potentially backtrack.

“It’s a conversation that comes up regularly, but you have to see if it makes sense to bring the two Games together and at the moment we think it doesn’t. The current deal is fine with us at the moment. It serves us well and we love it and want to keep it.

A combined Games would be logistically difficult, bringing together around 15,000 athletes in total (plus coaches and staff), if the numbers were similar to last summer in Tokyo, for nearly 900 events.

“Our fear is that if you were to put the two events together, you would hear much less about Paralympic performances and undermine the impact of the Games as the most transformative sporting event in the world,” Spence said. “Our ambition is to continue to grow the Paralympic Games and there is so much more potential there to make the Games even better.”

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