WTF suspends Indian Federation
The World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) has aligned itself with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), who suspended the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) for not respecting the IOC Charter and the autonomy of the Olympic movement, and has decided to deprive the Indian Taekwondo Team from participating in all WTF sanctioned events until the IOA has been officially readmitted by the IOC.
Jean-Marie Ayer, Secretary General of the World Taekwondo Federation, declared that the decision had “immediate effect in compliance with Article 2 of the WTF Statutes”. Ayer exposed WTF’s reasons for such an important action: “The WTF takes our responsibility to the Olympic Movement very seriously and we are 100% committed to transparent governance at every level of our sport. We demand the same values of every single one of our MNAs and we are not afraid to take decisive steps to ensure that Taekwondo is associated with fair play and respect all over the world”.
The suspension of the Indian Taekwondo Team by the WTF was decreed after it was reported that a court in New Delhi, capital of India, had ordered corruption charges to be brought against Suresh Kalmadi, the former president of the Indian Olympic Association, and the organising committee for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, which were held in the Indian capital. Mr Kalmadi, Games secretary general Lalit Bhanot and 9 other members of the organization face charges of cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy for presumably favouring Swiss Timing Omega in the tender for procuring timing and scoring equipment for the Games. A move that is said to have caused a loss of more than $18 million to the Indian government.
Mr Bhanot spent 11 months in custody last year on corruption charges linked to the event before he was released on bail. Mr Kalmadi, a sitting member of parliament who has also spent 9 months in prison, has also been charged with corruption in a case related to contracts at a 2009 event in London which marked the start of a baton race across Commonwealth countries. Both him and Bhanot deny all charges.
The Indian Olympic Association was itself suspended by the International Olympic Committee in December for its failure to respect the Olympic Charter, as the IOA decided to hold a non-recognised presidential election process, which was finally won by Abhay Singh Chautala, and approved a new Sports Code that imposes age and tenure limits on Indian sports officials.
It is reported that the WTF was concerned that Harish Kumar, the Taekwondo Federation of India president, supported Abhay Singh Chautala during IOA’s election process, which ended up being a clear challenge to the IOC.
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