India Faces IOC Review This Week

(ATR) The IOC Executive Board will consider next steps in dealing with India's refusal to grant visas to all athletes.

(ATR) The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board this week will address India’s refusal to allow a Pakistani delegation into the country for an international competition.

"This is one of the topics that will be part of the reports given to the IOC Executive Board during the meeting," an IOC spokesperson confirmed to Around the Rings.

The IOC Executive Board suspended all discussions with the Indian NOC and government regarding the potential applications for hosting future sports and Olympic-related events in India on February 21.

In addition, the IOC recommended that IFs neither award nor hold sports events in India until the New Delhi government gives "clear written guarantees" that all participants in such events will be given entry into the country in full compliance with the rules of the Olympic Charter.

India provoked the strong punishment from the IOC after the government denied visas in February to two Pakistani shooters and their coach to participate in the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF)World Cup in New Delhi.

India had blamed Pakistan for a terrorist attack earlier in February in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary personnel, the latest flashpoint in the long-running political animosity between the two countries.

"Following the IOC EB decision on 21 February, the IOC has written to all IFs and the situation is being examined accordingly by each IF so that appropriate action can be taken on a case-by-case basis, if and when necessary, such as the recent decision by UEFA to withdraw qualifying matches for the U-17 European Championships from Spain," the IOC said in its statement sent toATRon Monday.

"In parallel, the IOC is in close contact with the Indian NOC to urge the Indian government to provide all the necessary written guarantees as required in the IOC EB decision," added the IOC spokesperson.

It was the second time in the past few months that India had run afoul of the non-discrimination principle of the Olympic Charter.

The IOC warned India in December after the country refused a visa to Kosovo athlete Donjeta Sadiku, who was to participate at the AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships held in New Delhi in November. The Indian government doesn't recognize the newest European country.

Just over a year before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the IOC statute has cast a shadow on some of the major events India is scheduled to host, including the field hockey tournament in Bhubaneswar, which is also a pre-Olympic qualifier.

This tournament includes the men's FIH Series Finals and is scheduled for this June.

United World Wrestling, meanwhile, has stripped India of hosting rights for the Junior Asian Championship scheduled for this July.

Media reports also suggest that the International Boxing Association (AIBA) has dropped India as hosts of the 2020 Asia-Oceania Olympic qualifiers.

One aspect in favor of the venue for the field hockey tournament is that the president of the International Federation is Narinder Batra, president of the Indian Olympic Association. Moreover, Pakistan is not among the countries classified for this event.

The IOC Executive Board will reiterate at its three-day meeting in Lausanne its defense of the free participation of athletes in international competitions, regardless of the political situations existing in the countries, and the harsh consequences for those who don't abide by the non-discrimination principle.

It is unclear if the latest IOC punishments will affect India’s plans for bidding for the 2032 Olympics and Paralympics.

If the usual timetable is followed, the formal bid process for 2032 won’t start until 2022, giving India plenty of time to get back into the IOC’s good graces.

The Indian Olympic Association has said it will also bid for the 2026 Youth Olympics and the 2030 Asian Games.

The IOA did not respond to an email from ATR requesting comment about the upcoming IOC Meeting.

Reported by Miguel Hernandez.