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AFI claims it has support of IAAF in constitution amendment

New Delhi: Unlike a few National Sports Federations, the Athletics Federation of India could afford to breath easy as it had the support of its parent international body while ammending its constitution in line with the Sports Ministry`s directive.

The AFI on Sunday removed a contentious clause from its constitution regarding the election of its president and secretary under the Sports Ministry`s directive and a top AFI official said that it was able to go ahead with the amendment because of the backing of the IAAF.

The federation had the support of none other than the president of International Association of Athletics Federation Lamine Diack, who was here on Saturday for the Asian Athletics Asociation (AAA) Executive Council meeting at Gurgaon.

Diack attended the meeting which was chaired by AAA president and scam-tainted Delhi Commonwealth Games Organising Comminttee chairman Suresh Kalmadi.

"We had a lengthy discussion with Lamine Diack and he said the IAAF had no issues as long as we were taking decisions voluntarily. We voluntarily deleted the clause in the constitution. The Sports Ministry made a request following a court case asking if we can see to it and amend the constitution," the official said.

"We sent out proforma to all the state units and member boards. Barring two, all the units agreed to delete the clause. So, we had called a Special General Body Meeting to delete the clause," he added.

In the aftermath of the ban imposed on India, the International Olympic Committee had asked the international federations to ensure that the NSFs in India were enjoying autonomy and not being interfered by the government in their functioning.
The official, however, conceded that the AFI could have been in a tricky situation had IAAF was not supporting it.

"We have the support of the IAAF and that has made our job easy. They had no issues with the earlier election (held in March last year) and they don`t have any issues with the amendment in the constitution now. They also have no issues with the election to be held next month (February 24)," he said.

"But it would have been a tricky situation if we did not have IAAF support. We can`t go against the Sports Ministry as it has done a lot for athletics and we cannot be against the IAAF in any case," he said.

The AFI yesterday deleted Clause XIV(b)(1) of its constitution, which required candidates for the posts of president and secretary to be an existing member of the Executive Committee.

Anybody can now contest the elections provided his name is proposed or seconded by the required number of members as required under the constitution.

AFI polls were held in March last year but the Sports Ministry refused to recognise the president and secretary who were elected under the contentious clause. The Ministry also rejected the election of the treasurer on the ground that the person did not get No Objection Certificate from his public sector employers.

The ministry had, on December 11, directed the AFI to amend its constitution and hold re-elections within two months or by February 28 at the latest for the post of president, secretary and treasurer or face de-recognition.