New York (Dec. 3)
The Asian Games Federation has come up with a new method of keeping Israel out of international competition. At a meeting held a few days ago, it decided to replace itself next year with a new sports organization to be known as the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA). The meeting was held in New Delhi and Israel was not invited because, according to Federation secretary general L.L. Mehta of India, “it was not possible to ensure the security arrangements for persons attending from Israel.”
Five other Asian Games Federation countries, likewise, were not present there. Those missing the session, besides Israel, were Vietnam, Burma, Cambodia, Laos and Singapore. Conversely, North and South Yemen were admitted as new members bringing the total membership of the organization to 34.
At the New Delhi meeting, Mehta indicated that all Asian Games Federation member countries are eligible to “apply to enter” the new Olympic Council of Asia. The catch comes in that admission to the new group must be approved by three-fourths of the membership. Such approval dooms Israel from the alignment and will cut Asian sports contact, almost automatically, for the Jewish State.
The 21 nations attending the AGF Council meeting who automatically are founding members of the new OCA, will go into business in December 1982 at the end of the ninth Asian Games which are slated for New Delhi.
ADVANTAGE OF THE NEW GROUP
Supposed advantage of the newly created sports group would be in that it would include sports federations in its membership and would have permanent headquarters. Kuwait, which already maintains an all-Asian “shadow secretariat” for sports, currently is regarded as the strongest candidate for the proposed headquarters. Obviously, Kuwait would not make Israeli Federation heads very welcome in the event that the Holy Land was accepted as a member of the new Olympic body.
Mehta was asked if India could not provide security for the few Israeli delegates who wished to attend the conference in New Delhi, how it could arrange the necessary security at next year’s Asian Games for athletes from countries that are at war, such as North and South Korea, Iran and Iraq, and Pakistan and Afghanistan. He replied, “We can only hope and pray that conditions will become much more reasonable to facilitate arrangements for the game.” It is obvious that Israel will not make the Asian Games in New Delhi.
The conference group, before breaking up, decided that the 10th Asian Games in 1986, two years before the 1988 summer Olympics, will be staged in Seoul, South Korea, the site of the 1988 summer Olympics.