The Union Government and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) disclosed that they had reached a consensus about amending the IOA Constitution to incorporate the age and tenure clauses, providing a positive atmosphere for India’s return to the Olympic movement, on the eve of the meeting scheduled at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters in Lausanne on Wednesday.

However, the president of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, wrote to the IOC president Dr. Jacques Rogge, on Monday, requesting that the meeting be treated as something between the IOC and the Indian government officials only.

The acting president of the IOA, Prof. Vijay Kumar Malhotra, and IOC member Randhir Singh had withdrawn from the meeting after a directive from the IOC to add two members to the originally selected panel.

“As guardians of the Olympic Charter, it is, therefore, our duty to protect the interest of its Member NOC,” wrote the OCA president.

Further, the OCA communication stated that the delegation headed by Union Sports Minister Jitendra Singh should be clearly informed that adherence to the Olympic Charter was of paramount importance and “any government guideline and amendment to the IOA Constitution should be in line with the Olympic Charter”.

It was also suggested in the letter that another meeting be held in June with the IOA, OCA and the government of India in Lausanne, as the next step towards lifting the suspension of the IOA.

The IOA, headed by its president Abhay Singh Chautala, with secretary-general Lalit Bhanot, along with 14 other members, not recognised by the IOC or OCA, had held a meeting on April 22, with the Secretary (Sports) of the Union Sports Ministry, and thrashed out the clauses and amendments to be incorporated in the revised Constitution of the IOA. It may be recalled that all the National Sports Federations (NSF), except the Archery Association of India, had agreed to incorporate the Sports Code in their Constitution.

Tenure clause

On its part, the government had further diluted its tenure clause while sticking to 70 years as the limit for holding an executive post.

Thus, while no member can hold one or more executive post for more than five consecutive terms or 20 years, the candidates will be eligible for re-election after a cooling off period which will be six months less than the term. In the meeting with the Sports Ministry, it was agreed that the National Federations and State Olympics Associations would seek a Special General Meeting of the IOA to carry out the amendments of the Constitution and call for fresh elections.

With regard to the drafting of the Sports Bill, the secretary informed the members that the IOC had been informed about it, and once ready, the draft would be sent to IOC for its consent. It was also mentioned that further action on the Sports Bill would be taken only after consultations with all the stake holders.

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