The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Tuesday notified the holding of its elections on February 9 as was decided at its Special General Body Meeting (GBM) last month to pave the way for the country’s return to the Olympic fold.

S. Reghunathan, who chaired the last few Special GBMs, signed the notification before sending it to the officials, National Sports Federations and state Olympic bodies on Tuesday.

Candidates can file nominations for various posts, including those of president, secretary-general and treasurer, starting 15 days before the election date while they can withdraw their names till seven days prior to the polls, an IOA official said.

The elections are expected to be preceded by a Special GBM which is likely to accept IOC’s directive to make the December 8 amendments absolutely clear that charge-framed persons would be barred from contesting elections.

The Sports Ministry had suggested holding of the elections before the February 7 to 23 Sochi Winter Olympics so that four Indians can participate under the national flag.

With the IOA deciding to hold its elections as scheduled earlier, it will now have to take part in the Winter Olympics as Independent Athletes under the banner of the IOC.

Left with no other option after being served an ultimatum of a possible de-recognition by the IOC, the IOA on Dec. 8 had amended its constitution to bar charge-framed persons from contesting elections. The Special GBM also decided to hold elections on Feb. 9.

The IOC gave conditional approval to the amendments and issued guidelines to the IOA to ensure absolute clarity regarding barring of charged-framed officials from contesting elections. The IOC had asked the IOA to ratify the particular interpretation suggested by it to avoid “unnecessary speculation or doubtful interpretation” in the next meeting failing which the governing body reserved the right to impose necessary sanctions.

The IOA was suspended on Dec. 5, 2012 for government interference in its functioning and for allowing corruption-tainted persons to contest elections.

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