In IOA's new constitution, all EC members to be office-bearers

According to Vidushpat Singhania, who assisted Rao to amend the constitution, the process was done in consultation with all stakeholders, including the IOA.
Indian Olympics Association (IOA)
Indian Olympics Association (IOA)

There will be no voting right for state units, National Sports Federations who are part of Olympics, Asian and Commonwealth Games programme will have voting rights, no secretary general but a Chief Executive Officer, no restrictive clause, promoting gender equality...

These are some of the changes incorporated in the Indian Olympic Association amended constitution approved by the Supreme Court on Thursday and has been circulated among all stakeholders for perusal. The constitution was drafted by SC-appointed retired judge L Nageswara Rao and was submitted well before the deadline.

According to Vidushpat Singhania, who assisted Rao to amend the constitution, the process was done in consultation with all stakeholders, including the IOA. Any discrepancy or objection raised by a member, he said, should be addressed to
the SC. "Any petition relating to the amendment of the constitution of the IOA or the election should be addressed, as per its order, to the SC. Members cannot approach any other court," he said.

There are a lot of differences between this and the last constitution amended in 2018. The draft constitution has said that all sports federations must adhere to sports code in order to get affiliation with the IOA. But there are some very interesting points that would change most of the members in the IOA executive council.

EC members are office-bearers
The draft constitution considers all EC members as office bearers: "All members of the Executive Council shall be called Office Bearers." And according to the new rule, "an office bearer shall be allowed to hold office for more than 3 terms. No member shall hold one or more Office Bearer Post for more than 2 consecutive terms. An office bearer shall have to undergo a cooling-off period after 2 consecutive terms." This will lead to mass exit of EC members who have been part of the IOA since 2014. Among the 33, hardly a few will be eligible to be part of the current set up. Even for IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta will be ineligible to contest.

More for NSFs
The new pattern of voting will give more power to NSFs and even members eligible for contesting elections will be from among them.

Since the constitution has been finalised in consultation with the IOC, according to one of the members who was part of the drafting process said, there should not be a problem getting it approved in the Special General Meeting on November 10.

According to the amended constitution 'Federation' means the National Sport Federations whose sports feature in the programme of the Olympic Games, Asian Games and/or the Commonwealth Games."
The NSFs will have two voting rights "Provided that one representative is male and one is female". If there is no female member, the NSF will lose its vote.

Instead of the 25 per cent representation of eminent sportspersons in the IOA, the amended constitution has said there will be eight representatives of Sportspersons of Outstanding Merit (SOM) "provided that 4 (four) representatives are males and 4 (four) are females".

EC size pruned
The number of members in the Executive Council too has been pruned. It has been brought down to 14 from 31. The IOC member(s) will be ex-officio with voting rights, while the newly-created post of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) will be without voting rights. Right now there is one IOC member with voting rights.

No office bearer can continue after serving two four-year term. Earlier, the president could continue for three four-year term with or without cooling off. Re-election of office-bearers can be elected through simple majority. "Office Bearers shall be elected on obtaining more than 50% of the votes validly cast by the members present and voting in the election." According to the Delhi High Court Order, it was supposed to be 2/3rd majority. However, even the IOC had objected to this provision.

No vote for states
What could be a contentious issue during the SGM on November 10, is state units being not given voting rights. There are members who felt this was a bit too harsh for the state units, but some felt that it was not much of an issue. Since the SOAs are involved in promoting certain sporting events in the state, their role is limited.

Another point that may ruffle a few feathers is the point that says, "The State Olympic Associations should formulate their Constitution in consonance with the IOA Constitution. No provision of constitution of State Olympic Association should be in contradiction to the Constitution of the IOA."

Sportspersons to the fore
The constitution has provision to include eight “Sportsperson of outstanding merit” or “SOM” and "shall mean and include a sportsperson of Indian nationality with a sound mind not less than eighteen (18) years age, who has retired from active sports (should have not participated any competitive sport event (which leads to selection to represent a district/state or India) for at least one year prior to date of application and who had achieved at least one (1) of any gold, silver or bronze medals in Olympics, Commonwealth Games or Asian Games, while representing India." Going by the new timeline for election, advertisement seeking application for SOMs should be out by November 5 and names be published by November 19 before finalising the electoral college on November 21. Two representatives from the SOM will be part of the EC.

This will have a greater ramification as it will have a bearing in the administration of all NSFs and Olympic State Associations too.

It needs to be seen how the EC members react. As of now for the SGM on November 10, the voting would remain with the state units and other members. Though the SC has directed the amended constitution to be approved by the SGM, certain section felt that opposing is a possibility.

The Executive Council
1 President
2 One (1) Senior Vice President
3 Two (2) Vice-Presidents, including one male and one female Vice President
4 Treasurer
5 Two (2) Joint Secretaries, including one male and one female Joint Secretary
6 Six (6) other Executive Council members, out of which two(2), one male and one
female, shall be from the elected SOMs
7 Two (2) representatives, one male and one female, elected by the Athletes
Commission from among its members

IOC member (with vote)
1 CEO (no vote)

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