The IOC Session has been delayed over governance issues in India ©Getty Images

The next International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session has been postponed because of persistent governance issues within the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).

The IOC has moved the Session, due to be held in Mumbai, from May to September or October next year.

A decision on whether or not the IOA can host the Session is expected to be made when the IOC Executive Board next meets in December of this year.

The IOC Executive Board issued the IOA with what it insists is a "final warning" after meeting today.

It cautioned that its "immediate suspension" would be considered at the next gathering in December if governance issues are not resolved "to the IOC's satisfaction, in the interest of sport and the athletes", and if it is unable to operate through its Executive Committee and General Assembly and stage its quadrennial elections.

IOA elections were supposed to be held in December 2021, but have been held up by a court case in which the IOA has been accused of violating the national sports code.

Narinder Batra quit as President in July and there is now a row over who leads the IOA.

Athletics Federation of India President Adille Sumariwalla last month claimed to have been voted Acting President, but secretary general Rajeev Mehta says this is false and that Anil Khanna remains Acting President.

Narinder Batra resigned as IOA President in July, and a turbulent period has followed, with the IOC insisting it does not
Narinder Batra resigned as IOA President in July, and a turbulent period has followed, with the IOC insisting it does not "recognise any Interim or Acting President" ©Getty Images

IOC National Olympic Committee (NOC) relations and Olympic solidarity director James Macleod said that the IOC "does not currently recognise any Interim or Acting President of the NOC of India", so secretary general Mehta would serve as the "main point of contact to coordinate the next steps", consulting with the IOA's Executive Council and General Assembly.

A joint meeting with "all parties concerned" has been scheduled in Lausanne later this month to establish a "roadmap" leading to IOA elections.

The composition of the travelling IOA party is still to be confirmed.

"The delegation is not set yet, but as we have done in the past in these instances, we make sure that we have all the different constituent parts of the movement," Macleod said.

"We'll also be working with the Olympic Council of Asia in particular on this, and we'll be confirming in the next few days who will make up that delegation."

Suspension of the IOA would mean that athletes would be unable to represent India and compete under its flag and name at international sports events, it would lose its NOC status according to its role defined in the Olympic Charter, and it would be ineligible to receive funding from the Olympic Movement.

India is the world's second most populous country, and its athletes achieved its best performance by medals at a Summer Olympics to date at Tokyo 2020.

Macleod added that the IOC Executive Board "reserves the right to take further actions at any stage of the process depending on how the situation develops."

The IOA has been warned it could face
The IOA has been warned it could face "immediate suspension" at the next Executive Board meeting in December if governance issues remain unresolved ©Getty Images

The host of the 2030 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games is due to be selected at the next IOC Session, and IOC spokesperson Mark Adams confirmed that this remains the case.

"The main thing you need to know is that the decision will still be made at the Session, and [executive director] Christophe Dubi's team will be in touch with the interested parties and running them through the process, but I don't see it as any kind of major disruption at all," Adams said.

"It's a very short postponement of the decision to September from May."

A city had been due to be selected to enter targeted dialogue at the Executive Board meeting in December, and Adams said that the impact of today's postponement of the Session on those aims is "a detail to be decided."

Mumbai was awarded hosting rights for the 2023 IOC Session in February of this year, with India having previously only held the gathering in New Delhi in 1983.

Under Batra's leadership, the IOA had also been pushing for the country to stage the Olympic Games for the first time in 2036, with the Session branded as "one of the first steps in showcasing our sporting capabilities."