Revised IOA constitution may herald a whole new era

The Delhi High Court had asked IOA to incorporate 13 points suggested by petitioner and senior advocate Rahul Mehra in its constitution.

Published: 09th October 2022 08:02 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th October 2022 08:02 AM   |  A+A-

Indian Olympic Association logo. (Photo | olympic.ind)

Indian Olympic Association logo. (Photo | olympic.ind)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) constitution is expected to incorporate sweeping reforms in line with the Delhi High Court's August 16 order. This will lead to a massive change in the IOA structure. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has agreed with most of the points during its multi-party meeting in Lausanne on September 27. Going by the summary report issued by the IOC, it has chalked out a roadmap which seems agreeable to all parties.

However, the election process needs to get over by the next IOC Executive Board meeting on December 5-7. That means the date suggested by L Nageswara Rao in his notice for the meeting recently would need to be modified. "The whole process (including the elections) will have to be completed prior to the IOC EB meeting in December 2022," said the IOC summary report. Rao's letter had said, "To prepare a road map for the amendment of the IOA Constitution and for the conduct of the IOA elections so that the entire process is completed at best, by 15 December 2022."

Though the IOC said most of the points suggested by the Delhi HC are "agreeable", it raised objections to two points. 2/3 majority for re-election and appointment of 25 per cent of sportspersons as voting members, which is somewhat similar to what the international football federation (FIFA) had concerns about. As a first step, "the IOA Constitution will be amended to include the necessary governance reforms".The IOC has said that "the IOC/OCA will work together with the judge appointed by the Supreme Court of India on the draft revised Constitution".

"In principle, most of the points raised by the High Court of Delhi in its decision dated 16 August 2022 are agreeable for the IOC/OCA and compatible with the Olympic Charter and the basic principles of good governance of the Olympic Movement," said the report. "Except the 2/3 majority required for a re-election (a simple majority, i.e. more than 50% of the votes validly cast, should be sufficient, like in any election process); and the appointment of 25% “sportspersons” as voting members within the IOA General Assembly and Executive Committee (which should be refined and the mechanism of which should be re-discussed to make it workable and in line with the basic requirements relating to the membership of any NOC, as per the Olympic Charter, and with the usual standards within the Olympic Movement)."

The IOC said that it would propose "additional elements (such as changing the position of elected Secretary General into an appointed position, so that the Secretary-General would serve as a CEO appointed/hired by the Executive Committee, and including an independent ethics commission, a properly functioning athletes commission as per the IOC guidelines and safeguarding practices)."

The IOC has said that the final draft must be formally approved by the IOA general assembly. The Delhi High Court had asked IOA to incorporate 13 points suggested by petitioner and senior advocate Rahul Mehra in its constitution. There have been quite a few sticky points like State Olympic Associations can be members without voting rights. The court had also said that only Olympic sport NSFs will have voting rights in the IOA constitutions.

The court had agreed with the petitioner that age and tenure limits should be applied to all members of the EC and (as per the sports code) not only to the president, secretary and treasurer as well as to everyone in the General Assembly. The court has asked the IOA to reduce the size of the Executive Council to 15 from 30. It needs to be seen how things will pan out for old members of the IOA. If the restrictive clause is removed, more candidates can contest elections. 



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