Olympic bid gives IOA hope to attract candidates for CEO's post

PM Modi during IOC Session on October 14 announced that India would be interested in bidding for the 2036 Games.
The logo of Indian Olympic Association (IOA), used for representative purposes only.
The logo of Indian Olympic Association (IOA), used for representative purposes only.

CHENNAI:  The Indian Olympic Association is eagerly looking forward to November 5. The date holds significance because it is the last date for receiving applications for the post of Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Not appointing a CEO for so long had turned into a sore point between the IOA and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Despite repeated reminders and even a warning as late as during the IOC Session in October, the IOA finally advertised for the post on October 19, two days after the session ended.

However, things do not end with the advertisement. The anxiety within the IOA is understandable especially after the first advertisement that was published in January this year drew only one applicant. There is a section within the IOA that felt that the criteria mentioned in the constitution could pose a hindrance.

“The CEO must be a person who is a management professional with management experience of at least 10 (ten) years as the CEO of a company/entity with a turnover of at least rupees 25 crore,” is what the constitution says. This according to some would lead to low interest among potential candidates. As of now, IOA’s joint secretary is the acting CEO, a position that the IOC has refused to accept. They are on record saying all communications are with the IOA president in the absence of an appointed CEO.

However, there is a section that looks at it quite optimistically. The clincher according to some is Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent announcement during the IOC Session on October 14 where he said India would be interested to bid for the 2036 Olympic Games. This apparently would raise the profile of the CEO, who would be working closely with all stakeholders to present a successful bid. The IOC had already said that there should be a strong fully functional IOA to present a successful bid. It also said that the constitution is fit to purpose and IOA should not change it.

In fact, it is believed that potential candidates have been enquiring about the position of the CEO, its role and objectives, from diverse backgrounds. There have been enquiries from bankers, and former officials connected to sports like football, services and cricket (Indian Premier League). The IOA officials believe this time the application will not be restricted to just one.

In fact, there is a possibility to attract candidates from various backgrounds. India has been hosting some sports leagues like the Indian Premier League in cricket, and the Indian Super League (football) apart from leagues in kabaddi, volleyball, and badminton to name a few. Even if IOA requires a CEO with experience in sports, attracting applications from officials, current or otherwise, cannot be discarded. With just five days to go, the IOA is hoping things will change this time. But again, application is just one part of the process. One needs to see whether the appointment would be as smooth as their elections.

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