IOA to amend constitution, hold fresh poll

IOA to amend constitution, hold fresh poll

After serving nearly five-month suspension, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the Sports Ministry on Wednesday reached a consensus with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on bringing India back under the Olympic fold at a joint meeting in Lausanne.

According to the agreement, the IOA would amend its constitution in order to “improve governance and ethics,” before holding fresh elections in adherence to  revised rules and provisions of the Olympic Charter. The IOC had suspended India in December last year for “government interference and violating the Olympic Charter.’’

An understanding was reached between the Sports Ministry and the Chautala group of the IOA before the delegations met in Lausanne. The IOA is expected to amend its constitution and abide by a revised set of government guidelines on tenure of office-bearers.

The Sports Ministry, which had already initiated the process of redrafting the National Sports Bill, has agreed to consult all parties involved (IOC, IOA and the National Sports Federations) before moving ahead.

The IOC said it would closely monitor and supervise the entire process besides issuing a “roadmap” for the IOA and its members to follow.
“The main purpose of today’s meetings was to explore the possibility for the suspended IOA to hold free, fair, democratic and transparent elections on the basis of a revised IOA constitution and the Olympic Charter, with no outside interference, that could pave the way for the IOC to consider lifting its suspension of the IOA,” an IOC release stated.

Calling the meeting “fruitful,” the IOC said it was given “a strong guarantee” by Sports Minister Jitendra Singh that the autonomy of the Olympic Movement would be respected. “It was agreed in particular that the drafting of the new sports bill will be undertaken in close coordination with the IOA and the National Sports Federations, and with prior consultation with the IOC to ensure that it will be fully compatible with the principles and rules of the Olympic Movement.”

The world body directed the IOA to hold an “extraordinary” meeting of members to review its constitution and follow it up with the election of new members. “Following these meetings and subsequent consultation with the parties involved, the IOC is considering necessary measures to be taken before lifting the suspension.”
Sports Secretary P K Deb said an interim body would replace the IOA and hold fresh elections.

“The IOA has agreed to amend their constitution to bring it in line with the sports code and hold elections again. The IOC has accepted the need for a sports bill and will work with government to frame it. An interim body will take over from the IOA and hold fresh elections. The ban will be lifted when the new IOA takes over,” Deb told Deccan Herald from Lausanne.

The IOC Executive Board had suspended the IOA on December 4, 2012 and declared its elections null and void. The IOA said in defence that they had to follow the National Sports Code because of a high court ruling which backed the government on implementation of the code in the elections.

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