Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) chief Abhay Chautala today declared that he will turn down the honorary post of life president offered to him by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) only if told to do so by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Chautala, who has been chargesheeted in a disproportionate assets case, and 2010 CWG corruption scandal tainted Suresh Kalmadi were made Life Presidents at the IOA's Annual General Meeting in Chennai on December 27, stunning the Indian sporting fraternity and leaving the Sports Ministry fuming.
Kalmadi chose to step aside on Wednesday and Chautala said that he was ready to do so but with a rider that IOA president N Ramachandran should take up the matter with the IOC and he will resign only after the international parent body disapproves of him taking up the honourary position.
"I wish to thank the IOA for nominating me to the ceremonial position of Lifetime President and I have already informed the president IOA, through a separate letter, that if IOC is not favourably inclined to my taking over as Hon. Life President after the (IOA) president has had an opportunity of discussing this matter personally with IOC, I will be pleased to sacrifice my position in the best interest of Indian sports, sportspersons, good Governance, transparency and cleanliness in India sports," Chautala said in a statement.
He took a swipe at Sports Minister Vijay Goel, who has issued a show-cause notice to the IOA, threatening to derecognise it for the controversial decision.
"I am surprised at the reaction of the Minister of Sports Mr Vijay Goel and the media attention which was given to this ceremonial recognition for my humble contribution to sports. I have made sacrifice in 2013 by resigning from the post of President, although I was elected President in accordance with IOA Constitution, Indian Constitution and in a most transparent manner in an election conducted by three eminent Judges," Chautala said.
"Even my presence to witness Rio Olympics has been questioned. I am personally aware of the conduct of Minister of Sports at Rio where IOC had questioned the behaviour of the Minister and his associates and threatened to withdraw his accreditation. I do not wish to dwell more on this subject as I do not want to embarrass the Minister. If necessary, I will brief the Hon'ble Prime Minister on this issue of Rio Olympics," Chautala added.
Chautala said that the Annual General Meeting of the IOA in Chennai has authorised Ramachandran to discuss with the IOC certain issues relating to the provision of chargesheeted or chargeframed persons from being barred from contesting IOA elections.
Following its suspension by the IOC in December 2012, the IOA was forced to amend its constitution to ensure that chargesheeted/chargeframed persons are not allowed to contest elections. Only after that, the IOC revoked the suspension of the IOA in February 2014.
"I am given to understand that in the AGM of Guwahati in 2015, where I was not present, IOA had resolved that certain amendments which have only been made in India and are not applicable to other countries should be taken up by IOA with IOC. The AGM in Chennai was informed that IOC was extremely busy with Olympics and, therefore, this matter could not be discussed for a period of one year,” he said.
"I have noted that the AGM (in Chennai) has now requested the president to take up this matter with IOC to have a complete understanding on whether people who have been chargesheeted under Indian law, for political reasons not connected with sports, can be kept away from active management of sports or not. The AGM has given three months time to the president to discuss this matter with IOC," he added.
He asked the IOA president to meet the IOC officials in accordance with the resolution passed in the AGMs of Guwahati and Chennai.
Talking about his earlier stints as president of erstwhile Indian Amateur Boxing Federation, he said, "I have served Indian sports selflessly for more than 25 years and have made my humble contribution towards promotion of Indian sports especially in boxing. I am pleased that Haryana state where our Govt initiated many programmes to encourage sportspersons is now in the forefront of Olympic movement in India. We have very fond memories of Shri Vijender Singh becoming the first Bronze Medallist in Boxing in 2008 in Beijing Olympics when I was president of IABF.”
"I was also pleased that Mary Kom being a female athlete won bronze medal in 2012 London Olympics. Indian boxers brought laurel by winning all 10 weight categories including six gold medals in CWG 2010, Indian boxers constantly won back to back medals in almost all of the major multi-disciplinary games and International Boxing Championships including medals by legendary Mary Kom, L Sarita Devi, Sarju Bala, Vijender Singh, Suranjoy Singh, Devendro, Manoj and all others during my tenure as IABF president."
"I have always served sports selflessly and will do everything for promotion of sportspersons and sports. Although I was elected president of IOA in 2012, I decided to sacrifice this position in 2013 when vested interests from within India were able to influence an amendment to IOA Constitution. On account of this amendment, I decided to relinquish the post of president IOA in the best interest of Indian sports.”
"I thank the IOA family for bestowing an honour to me by nominating me unanimously as Hon. Life President of IOA in accordance with past tradition. This was not expected by me and I am grateful for this gesture."
With PTI Inputs