State unit's non-voting right status sticky point in IOA's SGM

However, according to some members, they will be part of the SGM this time and can vote on Thursday.

Published: 09th November 2022 01:09 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th November 2022 01:09 AM   |  A+A-

Indian Olympics Association (IOA)

Indian Olympics Association (IOA)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Special General Meeting (SGM) of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on November 10 will be the last before the amended constitution is adopted. The primary agenda of the meeting is "adoption and mandatory approval of the Amended Constitution of the IOA". The Supreme Court-appointed one-man committee, retired judge L Nageswara Rao, has brought in necessary changes to the constitution and had submitted to the court on November 3.

Though the SC has directed the constitution to be tabled before the IOA general house during the Special General Assembly, it needs to be seen how the members react. If the new constitution kicks in, most of the senior members are out. Yet, there seems to be no clarity among members on how they can oppose certain clauses in the constitution.

The main objection is the doing away of voting rights of the State Olympic Associations. However, according to some members, they will be part of the SGM this time and can vote on Thursday. The members are also taking legal opinion whether it is possible to object or whether it would lead to contempt since it has been approved by the SC. The SGM will be attended by almost all members of NSFs (three can attend) and SOAs (two members).

The IOA is already a divided house. One is led by secretary general, Rajeev Mehta, while the other is being led by its vice president, Adille Sumariwalla, after former IOA chief Narinder Batra quit. Both factions are not talking but there were indications that they want a secret ballot to vote for the constitution. Rejecting it will be a humongous task too. It will need two-third majority and garnering those numbers will be crucial.

Not giving voting rights to state associations has created a stir. They will no longer be part of the decision-making process of the IOA. Most of the state associations will exist as just another body. Their existence could be under threat. Earlier, they argued that since sports is a state subject, they are not obliged to follow the constitution of the IOA. But the IOA constitution always made it mandatory for them to follow. There are arguments both for and against. Some say they are a necessary arm of a democratic set up. They get involved during National Games. However, the way the National Games in Gujarat was held, their role was negligible.

Another issue raised by some senior members is the number of votes for NSFs. They felt three should have been better. Sending one female and one male to the general body for election may not be easy.

President's name undecided
Though many names are doing the rounds, with just about a month to go for the election, there is no consensus on the presidential candidate. Since the secretary general's post has been converted to a paid one (either secretary general or Chief Executive Officer), the appointed person will take charge after the election. There are quite a few names doing the rounds. For some senior members, Sumariwalla, also an Olympian, is an ideal candidate since he still has one more term of four years left, as per the amended constitution. There are other names floating around too. Former star player and badminton chief national coach, P Gopichand, who seems to tick all the boxes, is one such name. It is understood that some prominent players and administrators are expected to support. He is attending the SGM on Thursday as vice president of the Badminton Association of India. Other prominent athletes' names that cropped up are former Olympic and world championships medallists.

However, going by All India Football Federation (AIFF) and Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) elections, members feel the IOA president's name too could be backed by the government. According to the amended constitution, one male and female will be nominated by the NSFs part of Olympic, Asian and Commonwealth Games programme for the general body meeting and election; sportspersons of outstanding merit (SOMs) and athletes' commission representatives and IOC member(s) too can contest.
The last date for sending names for the electoral college is November 20 and it will be finalised on November 21. Election will take place on December 10.



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