IOC suspends India over govt interference

Updated 05 December 2012
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IOC suspends India over govt interference

LAUSANNE: The IOC suspended India’s national Olympic committee yesterday because of government interference in its election process, two officials with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press.
After months of warnings, the IOC executive board imposed the sanction when the Indian Olympic Association failed to comply with the world body’s demands for holding independent elections, the officials said.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the official announcement hadn’t been made yet. An IOC news conference was scheduled for later Tuesday at the end of the executive board’s first day of a two-day meeting.
Suspension means the Indian body will stop receiving IOC funding and its officials will be banned from attending Olympic meetings and events. India’s athletes will be barred from competing in Olympic events under their national flag, although the IOC could allow them to do so under the Olympic flag. International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams said he could not comment.
“I can’t discuss that because any decisions that are taken have to be communicated to any countries involved,” he said.
In New Delhi, acting IOA president Vijay Kumar Malhotra told the AP that the association “has not been intimated about any suspension so far.”


Indian Sports Minister Jitendra Singh called the IOC decision “very unfortunate, more so for sports persons.”
“I’m only concerned about the sports persons, a.m. waiting for details,” he told the Times Now news channel.
Abhey Singh Chautala, who is unopposed for election as IOA president, told reporters in New Delhi that a suspension would be a “one-sided decision.”
“We had written to them, asking them to give some time to our two-member committee to tell them about our position,” he said. “They’ve not listened to our side. We will go to IOC again and explain to them how elections were carried out here.”
The IOC had also recently threatened to suspend Kuwait’s Olympic committee, but the Gulf nation amended its sports law last week and was not hit with an IOC sanction yesterday.
The IOC had repeatedly told the Indian body to adhere to its own constitution and the Olympic Charter and not follow the government’s sports code for this week’s elections. The IOC will not recognize the results if the elections are held under government rules.
The Indians have been mired in wrangling over the elections to replace Suresh Kalmadi, who was jailed for nine months on corruption charges related to the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. Kalmadi, who headed the IOA for 16 years, decided not to seek re-election.
The Indian vote, originally scheduled for last month, has been postponed to today following the resignation of election commission chairman S Y Quraishi.
On Friday, the IOA announced the appointment of some officials to posts which were not contested in the elections. Appointed as secretary general was Lalit Bhanot, who is also facing graft charges relating to the Commonwealth Games.


Liverpool and Alan Kennedy look to rerun history against Real Madrid in Kiev

Updated 18 min 18 sec ago
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Liverpool and Alan Kennedy look to rerun history against Real Madrid in Kiev

LIVERPOOL: With eight minutes of the 1981 European Cup final remaining, Liverpool left-back Alan Kennedy made one of his trademark bursts forward, broke into the Real Madrid penalty area and drove home a left-footed finish to settle a tense, tactical battle.
Unlikely, unforgettable, he had the historic distinction of being the matchwinner in two finals, having also netted the decisive penalty in the shoot-out victory over AS Roma three years later.
“So proud,” reflected Kennedy. “It was a wonderful time to be a Liverpool player.”
On Saturday, the Reds meet Real again in Kiev to contest European club football’s most prized trophy.And the memories of that Paris triumph will never fade for the 63-year-old, nor will being part of a lauded Liverpool team.
“That was their mentality and Liverpool were rightly the top team in Europe,” Kennedy, who also lifted five League titles for the Reds during his eight-year stay at Anfield, said. “It was a great era, great times, but the be-all and end-all for any footballer, should be about winning trophies.”
Liverpool’s strength and focus was emphasized in that Parc des Princes showpiece. Before kick-off they had to cover up sponsor’s logos on their shirts to appease UEFA and TV broadcasters. They had concerns about the fitness of influential striker Kenny Dalglish and Kennedy himself after a broken wrist had sidelined him six weeks earlier.
“I think when you put obstacles in the way of that Liverpool team, the better they played,” he told Arab News. “We had issues with TV rights, about the state of the pitch, issues about the fitness of players, me included, but we went out to play the game and win.”
Formidable foes, Bob Paisley’s side dominated Europe in much the same way Zinedine Zidane’s side are doing at the moment. On Saturday they will seek to become the first side to win three European Cups on the bounce since Bayern Munich in 1976.
“Real Madrid are the champions and fantastic in the competition with their history,” said Kennedy. “You have to respect what they have done.
“Everyone expected Liverpool to be in contention for all the trophies too and that’s what we wanted, to push ourselves to as many finals. We wanted to win everything. Maybe we were a bit greedy, but we felt we could do it.
“I don’t think we were arrogant, although our play suggested we were good at what we did. We played a system that was attack all the time no matter if we were under the cosh or defending.
“It was a great team, everyone knew their jobs, we didn’t change for anyone. We were single-minded about winning. We had set the standards and were under pressure to win every game.”
As favorites, Real will be under similar pressure as they seek a 13th title. And Kennedy believes that his former club can claim a sixth European Cup and their first since the famous 2005 triumph over AC Milan in Istanbul when they came back from 3-0 down.
“I know it will be a great game, difficult to call,” he said.
“But I would be saying to the Liverpool players that you can win it, you are good enough to win it. Go out and play the same way you
have all season. If they do, I think they will win it.
“They may concede, but they should not change their style.”
And nor should they, as attack has been the best form of defense for Liverpool this season. In Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, there is a frontline blessed with pace, panache and potency.
Salah, rightly, has received accolades — including the PFA and Football Writers Player of the Year awards — after a stunning debut season following his £36.9 million ($49 million) arrival from Roma.
A landmark 42 goals — a record 32 in the Premier League — and ability to create chances have seen the Egyptian ranked alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
But, for Kennedy, there can be no comparison to Dalglish, arguably the greatest Kop king.
“Kenny was special, a different type of player, always on the shoulder of the defender,” he added. “Salah comes in from the wing and scores spectacular goals. Liverpool play to his strengths as he is forever getting into the box and the right position.
“For me, Kenny, over 10 seasons, was Liverpool’s top player at that time, fantastic, and it’s difficult to put them side by side. Salah’s been wonderful, but never had a season like this before.”
Madrid’s talisman Ronaldo has. Another 43 goals for the five-time Ballon D’Or winner shows he remains a force at 33.
“I’ve always had utmost admiration for Ronaldo,” said Kennedy. “He has this ability to score in finals and show how good he is. One chance, he takes it.
“But that’s been the same with Salah too. The goals he has scored, he seems to see what comes ahead. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top.”