Abhinav Bindra released the statement he made as a member of the Olympic Athletes Commission, during a meeting between the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Indian Olympic Association (IOC) and Government of India (GOI ).
The Olympic gold medalist’s statement prescribes a series of guidelines for the IOC to follow, ranging from greater athlete representation and an appropriate structure for IOA membership to creating checks and balances for people in power.
Providing a reason for proposing the guidelines, Bindra said, “What is at stake here? This is the sporting trajectory of 17.5% of the world’s population. There has never been a more exciting time in Indian sport with the best performances of our athletes at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics… Athletes and the public deserve a strong, accountable, capable and empowered institutional structure to drive forward this mission. ”
The joint meeting, held at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, follows tensions between the IOC and the IOA.
The IOC on September 8 issued a suspension threat whereby the AIO would be suspended if it did not hold elections this year.
Here are the guidelines that Bindra prescribed for the IOA:
1. Representation of athletes in governance
“It is essential that the voice of athletes is understood and reflected in decision-making and governance in a concerted and specific way.” Bindra said. He proposes to create athletes’ commissions within the NOC and for all NOC members, where the majority of players will be elected. In doing so, he says it is essential that athlete representatives have the chance to speak up and participate in institutional decision-making.
2. Streamlined AIO Membership Structure
Bindra proposes that IOA voting members be limited to relevant Olympic/CWG/Asiad National Sports Federations. According to him, national Olympic associations can be members without the right to vote. He further states that all voting members must be only those who abide by the Olympic charter, the national sports code and who have an Athletes’ Commission in place.
3. Checks and Balances in Governance
Bindra believes that the IOA should delineate the powers and responsibilities of its various officials, i.e. the general body of the IOA, the executive committee, the officers and the commissions. To achieve this, the general body should only be able to delegate powers to the executive committee as a whole rather than to individual officers.
4. Operational and Financial Integrity and Transparency
According to Bindra, the IOA constitution should contain provisions that prescribe an appropriate structure for internal and external audits, reporting and public transparency.
5. Institutional Mechanism for Dispute Resolution and Athlete Welfare
The IOA must set up a dispute resolution chamber, an ombudsman, an ethics officer, a welfare and safety officer, according to Bindra.