IOC asks IOA to make changes in constitution by mid-August

New Delhi: In directives that may lead to sweeping changes in the IOA`s functioning, the International Olympic Committee has asked the Indian body to amend its constitution and take away the voting rights of the state Olympic committees to prevent manipulation in elections.

The IOC has recommended that the IOA report back to the parent body by mid-August after incorporating these changes in its constitution.

The IOC has directed the IOA to give voting rights to National Federations and debar the rights of state Olympic committees. The IOC also wants the IOA to conduct the polls with secret ballots to ensure free and fair polls.

In its communication, the IOC has asked the IOA to convene a General Assembly and adopt the recommendations, which pertain mainly to the composition of National Olympic Committees but does not mention the government`s guidelines on term limitation and cap on age for the office bearers.

The move will surely give some sleepless nights to IOA chief Suresh Kalmadi, who called a hurriedly-arranged meeting of Sports Federations presidents yesterday to discuss the ramification of the proposed amendment.

"Over the years, the IOA has practiced a structure where it gave two votes to the state Olympic committee to garner and create artificial majority for its elections. These votes are easily purchasable so as to affect good governance," said an IOA official on condition of anonimity.

The IOC has also asked the IOA to create a Court of Arbitration and form an Ethics Commission to go into complaints against all office bearers, including president.

The Indian body has also been directed to constitute an Athletes Commission, comprising two members, who have the experience of playing in the last three Olympics.

Presently, the IOA doesn`t have any athletes on board as
demanded by the Olympic charter, either in the executive or the General Assembly.

The IOC sprang into action after Government sent two officials, including its joint secretary Injeti Srinivas, to the headquarters at Lausanne to convince the governing body that its age-limitation guidelines do not impinge upon the autonomy of IOA. Eminent lawyer R K Anand and IOA Secretary General Randhir Singh presented the case for IOA.

"After a lot of deliberation, where the IOA officials also presented their case, the IOC concluded that amending the constitution is necessary for good governance as IOA`s statutes are inadequate to follow the Olympic charter," the official said.

Among other recommendations, the apex body has called for the restriction of office bearers only to one third of actual voters so that they vote on the basis of merits rather than on the allurement of post.

The IOA was formed and recognised by the IOC in 1927 under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860.

The apex body of late has been on collision course with the Sports Ministry over the government`s guidelines on tenure limitation and age cap for the office bearers.


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