Ministry asks IOA to discuss tenure limitation in meeting

New Delhi: A day ahead of the Indian Olympic Association’s Executive Council and Special General Assembly meetings, the Sports Ministry today shot off a letter to IOA, asking it to take up the contentious issue of tenure limitation of its office-bearers on Tuesday.

“The occasion provides an opportune moment for the IOA and the National Sports Federations (NSFs) to deliberate on issues relating to compliance of the 2001 Government guidelines on good governance; including those relating to tenure limits, in respect of office bearers, and age limit for all members,” the Ministry’s letter stated.

The Ministry and IOA office-bearers have been at loggerheads over the issue of putting a cap on the tenures of long-serving officials.

The government wants to fix the IOA and NSFs President’s tenure at not more than 12 years, with or without break, a move that has been widely opposed by IOA chief Suresh Kalmadi and other officials who would be hurt if it comes into effect.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has backed the IOA on the matter but the Ministry said in the interest of good governance, tenure limits should be set.

The Ministry said even the IOC wants transparency in its affiliate bodies and the IOA and various NSFs should work accordingly.

“This matter also derives urgency, in the light of the recommendations made at the IOC Seminar on ‘Basic Universal Principles of Good Governance of the Olympic and Sport Movement’ held in February 2008...

“These recommendations were further endorsed at the XIII Olympic Congress held in October 2009. The consensus that emerged at both the forums was that good governance was essential, if sports movement was to justify and claim autonomy. It was resolved that all members of the Olympic Movement should adopt, as their minimum standards, the Basic Universal Principles of Good Governance of the Olympic and Sports Movement, as proposed by the IOC,” the Ministry stated.

“Adequate procedural regulations must exist to ensure there is no conflict of interests. The terms of office should be of limited duration in order to allow renewal of office bearers on a regular basis and give access to new candidates,” said the Ministry, adding IOA needed “Cooperation, coordination and consultation with government to preserve autonomy.”

The Ministry reiterated that its tenure limitation guidelines are in compliance with IOC charter.

“...liberalisation of the tenure limit, allowing 12 years maximum tenure for the President, as opposed to 8 years earlier, was done to bring our guidelines in alignment with the norms adopted by the IOC in 1999, which represent the best international practices.”