IOC sets Oct 31 deadline for IOA to clean house
New Delhi: Hardening its stand against the IOA, the International Olympic Committee has asked the Indian body to sack "charge-framed" officials through constitutional amendments by October 31 and conduct fresh elections by December 15 to return to the Olympic fold.
Giving its "conclusions and decisions" on the IOA`s Executive General Meeting held here last month, the IOC said the key provision of barring individuals, against whom charges have been framed in court, was ignored by the Indian body.
"The IOC is well aware of the difference in the Indian legal system between charge-sheeted persons and charge-framed persons and has never requested that the clause initially proposed applies for charge-sheeted persons. Therefore it is reiterated that the initial wording is aimed to apply for anyone charge-framed by a court in India," the IOC Director General Christophe de Kepper said in a letter to the IOA.
"...The IOC does fully respect the principle that `until proven guilty, one is innocent`. However, what is at stake is the reputation of the Olympic movement which must not be tarnished," it added.
The IOC then goes on to urge the IOA to act accordingly, setting deadlines for the requisite constitutional changes and the fresh elections.
"It is required that the suspended IOA includes the initial wording proposed by the IOC (or a very similar wording which would not dilute the meaning and the expected results and which would be submitted in advance to the IOC) with respect to both charge-framed and convicted individuals.
"This is pre-requisite for the IOC to approve the revised Constitution of the IOA. For that purpose, the suspended IOA should meet again in a General Assembly no later than October 31 and proceed with the required amendments," the IOC stated.
"Once this step in completed and the IOC can approve the new constitution of the IOA, the suspended IOA would be in a position to hold its Elective General Meeting as soon as possible thereafter and no later than December 15," it added.
The IOC also made it clear that the age and tenure restrictions proposed by it were applicable on not just the President, Secretary General and the Treasurer but also the entire Executive Council.
"Upon completion of the whole process...The IOC Executive Board would be in a position to consider lifting the suspension on the IOA," the IOC said.
"It is highly expected that the suspended IOA will act accordingly and seize this golden opportunity to show its readiness to implement the basic principles of good governance, ethics and integrity which must prevail within the Olympic movement," it added.
The IOC also said that it had the backing of the Association of national Olympic Committees and the Olympic Council of Asia.
Yesterday, the IOC rejected IOA`s compromise formula on the chargesheet clause even as a defiant IOA stuck to its stand that Indian law would prevail on these matters, further jeopardising the country`s chances of a quick return to the Olympic fold.
In its Special General Body Meeting last month, the IOA had come up with a compromise formula to IOC`s directive to bar chargesheeted persons from contesting elections with the proposal that the sanction be applied only to those who are convicted and sentenced to a jail term of more than two years.
But the IOC stood firm on its earlier stand during its Executive Board (EB) meeting yesterday ahead of the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires and asked IOA to accept all demands in full before conducting elections.
India was suspended from the Olympic movement in December last year after the tainted Lalit Bhanot, who is facing corruption charges linked to the scandal-hit 2010 Commonwealth Games, was elected secretary-general of the IOA.
Sports Minister Jitendra Singh backed the IOC`s decision and urged the IOA to incorporate the required amendments in its constitution so that the interest of country`s sportspersons do not suffer.
Jitendra termed IOA`s reluctance to amend its constitution in accordance with the IOC`s suggestion as "sad" and asked the association to give preference to the interest of the sportspersons.