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IOC sets IOA Oct 31 deadline to set house in order

September 06, 2013 19:51 IST
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The International Olympic Committee has told the Indian Olympic Association to sack "charge-framed" officials through constitutional amendments by October 31 and conduct fresh elections by December 15 if it wants to return to the Olympic fold.

Giving its "conclusions and decisions" on the IOA's Executive General Meeting, held in Delhi last month, the IOC said the key provision of barring individuals, against whom charges have been framed in court, was ignored by the Indian body.

"The IOC is well aware of the difference in the Indian legal system between charge-sheeted persons and charge-framed persons and has never requested that the clause initially proposed applies for charge-sheeted persons. Therefore it is reiterated that the initial wording is aimed to apply for anyone charge-framed by a court in India," IOC Director General Christophe de Kepper said, in a letter to the IOA.

"...the IOC does fully respect the principle that 'until proven guilty, one is innocent'. However, what is at stake is the reputation of the Olympic movement which must not be tarnished," it added.

IOC president Jacques Rogge speaks to the press at the 125th IOC Session at Hilton Hotel in Buenos Aires, ArgentinaThe IOC then went on to urge the IOA to act accordingly, setting deadlines for the requisite constitutional changes and fresh elections.

"It is required that the suspended IOA includes the initial wording proposed by the IOC (or a very similar wording which would not dilute the meaning and the expected results and which would be submitted in advance to the IOC) with respect to both charge-framed and convicted individuals.

"This is pre-requisite for the IOC to approve the revised Constitution of the IOA. For that purpose, the suspended IOA should meet again in a General Assembly no later than October 31 and proceed with the required amendments," the IOC stated.

"Once this step in completed and the IOC can approve the new constitution of the IOA, the suspended IOA would be in a position to hold its Elective General Meeting as soon as possible thereafter and no later than December 15," it added.

The IOC also made it clear that the age and tenure restrictions proposed by it are applicable to not just the president, secretary-general and treasurer but also the entire Executive Council.

"Upon completion of the whole process... the IOC Executive Board would be in a position to consider lifting the suspension on the IOA," the IOC said.

"It is highly expected that the suspended IOA will act accordingly and seize this golden opportunity to show its readiness to implement the basic principles of good governance, ethics and integrity which must prevail within the Olympic movement," it added.

The IOC also said that it had the backing of the Association of National Olympic Committees and Olympic Council of Asia.

On Thursday, the IOC rejected IOA's compromise formula on the chargesheet clause even as a defiant IOA stuck to its stand that Indian law would prevail on these matters, further jeopardising the country's chances of a quick return to the Olympic fold.

Atits Special General Body Meeting last month, the IOA came up with a compromise formula to the IOC's directive to bar chargesheeted persons from contesting elections with the proposal that the sanction be applied only to those who are convicted and sentenced to a jail term of more than two years.

But the IOC stood firm on its earlier stand during Thursday’s Executive Board meeting, ahead of the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires, and told the IOA to accept all demands in full before conducting elections.

India was suspended from the Olympic movement last December after the tainted Lalit Bhanot, who is facing corruption charges linked to the scandal-hit 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games, was elected secretary-general of the IOA.

Sports Minister Jitendra Singh backed the IOC's decision and urged the IOA to incorporate the required amendments in its constitution so that the interest of the country's sportspersons does not suffer.

Jitendra termed the IOA's reluctance to amend its constitution in accordance with the IOC's suggestion as "sad" and asked the association to give preference to the interest of the sportspersons.

Image: IOC president Jacques Rogge speaks to the press during the 125th IOC session at Hilton Hotel in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Photograph: Ian Walton/Getty Images

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