Olympics: IOC maintains Indian suspension

LAUSANNE (AFP) - International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach said on Tuesday that a suspension of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) was being maintained.

The IOC suspended India in December last year for flouting the Olympic charter in its election process.

Mr Bach said that if the question of autonomy no longer posed a problem, the proposals made by the IOC on governance have not yet all been accepted by the IOA.

"We maintained the suspension," said Mr Bach after a meeting of the IOC executive board.

"The road map we have established before with the Indian Olympic Committee implies also the elections four weeks after the approval of these statutes.

"So we are looking forward to the implementation of these new rules by transparent, open and democratic election in the IOA.

"We have already taken precaution for the athletes to make sure the athletes will not suffer from these procedures."

If this election does not take place before the Sochi Olympics in February or does not satisfy the IOC, Indian athletes can still participate in the Games, Mr Bach said.

"Indian athletes can participate in the Winter Games if they qualify of course but if there is no election before Sochi which meets the approval of the IOC, there will be no Indian flag in the Sochi Games, there will be no mention of India but we will ensure the participation of Indian athletes as independent athletes under the Olympic flag.

"They will be provided with the necessary support and staff, but there will be no chief of mission."

To avoid being banned completely from the Olympics, the IOA agreed on Sunday to amend its constitution and prevent members now accused of corruption holding office.

New elections are scheduled for Feb 9, two days after the opening ceremony of the Sochi Games.