Both POA factions turn deaf ear on IOC warning. By Rashid Ali Siddiqui

Karachi – Pakistan, Apr 12, 2014: International Olympic Committee (IOC) has warned Pakistan that its membership will be suspended if government continues to interfere into National Olympic Committee (NOC) matters.

The stern warning was given in IOC moot held last week. However, both factions of Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) and government turned a deaf ear on the warning and no reaction from either side came.

The IOC said that Pakistan will be suspended in July this year unless it complies with rules banning government interference. Olympic charter forbids government interference in its NOC matters.

The IOC had set a previous deadline of December 1 for Pakistan to show that its Olympic committee and sports federations are being run without interference.

The International Olympic Committee said the Pakistan government “has not kept its promises” but has proposed further dialogue.

The IOC said the executive board will suspend Pakistan from the Olympic movement at its next meeting in July if the country did not conform to rules guaranteeing the independence of elected sports officials.

Pakistan has failed to resolve the issue of POA despite the passage of more than one year and the tussle between two factions of POA caused the country a lot of damage at international level. POA headed by Lt. Gen (retd) Syed Arif Hassan is considered as genuine body by IOC but after the implementation of National Sports Policy 2005, the election of officials of POA seems to be controversial as Policy in question bars the key officials of their election of successive third term.

According to a condition in the sports policy, President, Secretary and Treasurer cannot hold these offices for third term in row.

The Supreme Court has also upheld the condition while Lahore High Court on petition of POA against the policy, ordered fresh elections on all posts of POA except President.

In the meantime, Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) held elections of POA thus electing a parallel POA led by General (retd) Akram Sahi.

Now government and its functionaries recognize POA headed by Sahi group as legitimate body whereas IOC has put its weight behind Gen (retd) Arif Hassan’s POA.

Owing to ongoing tussle, Pakistani athletes have been deprived to participate in many international events while many federations have been divided and mushroom of parallel sports associations are rampant in the country.

If the issue is not resolved before July this year and IOC imposes a ban on Pakistan, the country will sustain great loss and its athletes cannot participate in Asian Games, slated to held in September. —- By: Rashid Ali Siddiqui

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