Although the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had sought additional time to study the amendments suggested on the constitution of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), it may be smooth passage towards the Special General Meeting of the IOA to be held on August 25, to effect the amendments.
By agreeing to the diluted tenure and age clause, the suspended IOA has appeased the demands of the Union Sports Ministry. By incorporating the Code of Ethics apart from rules regarding ‘conflict of interest’ from the IOC charter, the IOA has projected a positive image.
And by stressing that “the law of the land will prevail in all the affairs concerning Indian Olympic Association,” the IOA has given hope to everyone that the proposed ‘sports development bill’ as and when it is passed, would be binding on the IOA.
The IOA has also smartly side-stepped the issue of taking away the voting rights of the State Olympic Associations, much in contrast to what it had suggested to the government as well as the IOC, by possibly banking on a clause of the Olympic charter, dealing with membership of NOCs.
The IOA has also incorporated the main clause of the IOC, “In any of the AGM/SGM the voting majority shall consist of votes cast by National Federations affiliated to the International Federations governing sports included in the programme of Olympic Games as laid down in rule 28.3 of the Olympic Charter.” However, there is no change either to the electoral college or the votes held by each member unit.
Thus, all the national federations, whose sports are included in the Olympics, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games apart from the indigenous kho-kho, will have three votes each. The State Olympic Associations, apart from Delhi, Puducherry and the Services Sports Control Board, will have two votes each. Other Union territories, the IOC Member and two representatives of the athletes commission will have one vote each.
Only the president, secretary general and the treasurer will be considered office-bearers for the sake of the “age and tenure clause.”
The IOA has also avoided putting 70 years, by number, as the age of superannuation, as suggested by the government, and mentioned it as the age prescribed for the members of the IOC, which is the same.
As reported earlier, when the concerned parties came to an agreement before proceeding to the IOC for a dialogue for the reinstatement of India back into the Olympic Movement, the office bearers can have a maximum of five successive terms in different positions, and can resume their role after a ‘cooling off’ period. Notably, there is no restriction on the number of terms for an individual.
The election will be a quick process of two weeks, after the confirmation of the electoral college to the Returning Officer.
The number of vice-presidents has been increased from eight to 12, and that of joint secretaries from six to eight. The weird post of “IOC member in India” has been deleted.
Quite glaringly, there is a provision for only one representative of the athletes commission, out of an overall list of 45 posts, including 20 for the executive council members, in the IOA election.
Another glaring aspect is that any complaint to the Ethics Commission, “the composition of which may be decided by the president of IOA,” be accompanied by a fee of one lakh rupees. There is a relief to the clause, in terms of the fee, if the president himself refers the complaint suo motu.
While the government has already been a party to most of the suggested changes, it will be interesting to see the reaction of the IOC, which is expected to express its observations in a few days.