Friction between members of the Indian Olympic Association continues. X / IOA

With just over three and a half months to go until Paris 2024, there is still infighting within the Indian Olympic Association (IAO) that could have a major impact on the preparation and performance of athletes for the Summer Games starting in July 2024.

Infighting within the IOA shows no sign of abating with just over three months to go until the Olympic Games. The infighting among the members of the Executive Committee (EC) remains intense, leading to a loss of confidence among them.

The 15 members of the EC have come to their positions with significant Olympic credentials, including participation in Olympic Games, with some even being Olympic medallists, which is surprising as this type of infighting is more common among officials who do not come from the world of Olympism.

Following the apparent cancellation of an EC meeting by IOA president PT Usha last week, a letter is being circulated banning "unauthorised persons" from entering the IOA Bhavan premises in New Delhi.

This notice is being widely circulated, even posted in lifts and on walls. It has been signed by nine members, including senior vice president Ajay Patel, vice presidents Rajlakshmi Singh Deo and Gagan Narang, treasurer Sahdev Yadav, and other members such as Dola Banerjee, Harpal Singh, Yogeshwar Dutt, Amitabh Sharma and Bhupinder Singh Bajwa.

The dispute has been going on since the appointment of the Chief Executive Officer in last January, following several warnings from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of possible significant sanctions if a CEO wasn't appointed. The main point of contention has been the salary of the CEO, which has been around 20 lakh rupees (22,000 euros) per month, excluding other benefits due to the seniority of the position.

This appointment of the CEO, which had the support of the IOC, was not supported in the new constitution to finalise the appointment. This resulted in the Finance Committee not approving any payments and the Treasurer (along with the IOA President) refusing to make any financial disbursements, including the salary.

On the other hand, the EC claimed to have sacked Usha's executive assistant, Ajay Narang, although Usha's office has confirmed that both the CEO and the executive assistant continue to work.

They are apparently coordinating with the Sports Ministry, the Sports Authority of India (SAI), the IOC and the Paris Organising Committee to ensure that athletes do not face any problems. Usha had earlier said that she had faith in the CEO and would continue to work for the IOA.

At the very least, this back-and-forth movements and conflicting orders point to a lack of governance in India that should be addressed as soon as possible for the sake of the world's most populous nation, especially given that this is an Olympic year and mismanagement could prove costly at Paris 2024.

Another problem facing the IOA is that it has not yet held its annual general meeting (it was not held in December as it should have been). As a direct result, audits and accounts have not been approved.

It should be noted that the IOA constitution specifically states that: "Accounts shall be kept in a scheduled or nationalised bank or banks approved by the Executive Council, in the name of the Association and shall be managed by the CEO in coordination and consultation with the President and Treasurer."

It also states that "In the absence of the CEO for any reason, the account shall be managed jointly by the Treasurer and the President", which shows that if the members cannot come to an agreement quickly, the future of the athletes, who are ultimately the most important, does not look very promising in the face of the thirty-third modern Olympic Games.