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IOA amends rules under pressure

Publication Date : 09-12-2013


Bowing to the diktats of the International Olympic Committee, the IOA amended its constitution to bar charge-framed persons from contesting elections and decided to hold its elections on 9 Feb 2014.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) president, Thomas Bach, in an interview to a wire agency, yesterday, had made it clear that the amendment will have to be made before 10 December or else India will be derecognised.

At a Special General Body Meeting (SGBM) here this morning, the IOA made suitable amendments to its constitution with the hope that the IOC will now lift its suspension and pave the way for India's return to the Olympic fold.

Talking to mediapersons, S Reghunathan, who chaired the GBM attended by 134 members, said both Abhay Singh Chautala and Lalit Bhanot, the president and secretary-general respectively, of the suspended IOA and who were charge-framed by the court, will not be eligible to contest IOA elections once the IOC approves the amendment.

"The House unanimously decided to amend the relevant clause in the IOA constitution which would bar charge-framed persons from contesting elections. Both Chautala and Bhanot told the House that they will not contest the upcoming elections. In fact, Chautala proposed the amendment while Bhanot seconded it. Chautala announced that he will not contest the upcoming IOA elections but maintained that the amendment was done under pressure from the IOC."I am not going to contest elections but there are two things. One, the amendment was done under pressure of the IOC. And two, we are making the amendment in the interest of the Indian athletes so that they can take part under the Indian flag."

"But we should be allowed to represent our case, that under the Indian law framing charges against a person does not mean that he is guilty. So an IOA delegation will visit the IOC headquarters after the amendment is accepted (by the IOC) to explain the legal position in India," he said.

Bhanot also said he will not contest elections "I am not contesting elections as after the amendment is made, I am not eligible."

Asked if he felt he was victimised in the whole controversy, he said, "No. The House is with me. We decided to amend the constitution in the interest of Indian athletes. I don't want to be a hindrance to the interest of the athletes.

Reghunathan  further  informed:   "We also decided to hold elections on February 9." He maintained that  there was no need for Chautala and Bhanot to resign immediately but they may do so after the IOC gives approval to the amendment and before the elections."There is no need for them to resign immediately. They may do so after IOC approves the amendment. They can resign before elections. We will do whatever the IOC says. We will wait for IOC direction."

He said the IOC may even decide to lift the ban on IOA in a few days if they accept the amendment. "The IOC may say in a few days that they (the IOC) have accepted the amendment, so hold the election and the ban will be lifted after the polls.The amendment if accepted by the IOC could lead to India's return to the Olympic fold after being suspended by the world body on December 4 last. It will also bring an end to the one-year-old impasse between the IOC and IOA.

"We are hoping that the IOC will revert back to us in seven to 10 days. The ball is now in the IOC's court. We have done what we have been told to do. We are now hopeful that the IOC will lift the ban on the IOA," he said.

 In its October 27 special GBM, the IOA had sought to dilute IOC's directive on the charge-framed clause by proposing to refer such cases to its internal Ethics Commission, but the world body rejected that.


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