Indian Olympic Association has squarely rejected the fresh demand for the inclusion of Person of Indian Origin (PIO) and OCA (Overseas Citizens of India) to represent India in the Olympics and other international competitions, saying only Indian passport holders are eligible.
"There is no question of considering such proposal. Only valid Indian passport holders can represent India. If the PIOs and OCAs have Indian passports then definitely they will be considered. But if not then, there is no question of giving them an opportunity. We do not believe in dual Passport policy. If they hold other countries passport how can IOA and international bodies allow this to happen. Its not ethical and a right thing to do," IOA President Narendra Batra told Republic TV on Saturday.
A few federations including the All India Football Federation have been pushing for the inclusion of PIOs and OCAs in the national teams. With Indian football team coach Igor Stimac stressing the need for India to allow PIOs & OCIs to represent India, the AIFF has launched renewed discussions with the Sports Ministry.
AIFF general secretary Kushal Das had held a meeting on this subject with Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, then sports secretary and Sports Authority of India Director General. The Federation had submitted a detailed proposal to the ministry and a list of 30 Indian-origin players who could be considered for the national team.
Currently, the PIOs and OCIs are not allowed to represent India unless they give up their foreign citizenship and apply for an Indian passport.