IOC asks IOA to amend constitution
Special Correspondent - The Hindu
IOA has been told to carry out amendments and report back by mid-August
The suggested changes mainly pertain to the composition of the NOCs
NEW DELHI: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has directed the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to amend its constitution to fall in line with the Olympic Charter.
The IOA has been told to convene its General Assembly meeting and carry out the amendments in order to report back to the IOC by mid-August.
Significantly, there is no mention about restricting the terms of office-bearers of the IOA or an age cap for its officials as required under the Union Government guidelines.
The far-reaching amendments, suggested by the IOC, mainly pertain to the composition of the National Olympic Committee (NOC), with the IOC clearly asking the IOA to amend its constitution in such a way as to include only National Sports Federations (NSFs) as its voting members.
The IOA at present has the State Olympic associations also as its voting members, an obvious structure aimed at ‘vote bank politics' that has been practised and perfected over the years in the apex sports body.
No immediate consensus
The available office-bearers of the NSFs in Delhi, apart from several senior IOA and State-level officials, met on Wednesday to discuss the issue arising out of the IOC diktat, but there was no immediate consensus about convening a General Assembly meeting to take up the matter.
The IOC directive comes just over a month after the IOA met Union Sports Ministry officers in a ‘mediation dialogue' at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, in the presence of IOC officials.
The meeting followed weeks of confrontationist postures adopted by the IOA over what it called was an attempt by the ministry to erode its autonomy and that of the NSFs.
The meeting brought into focus the total inadequacy of the IOA statutes to follow the Olympic Charter.
The IOC stated that the Indian NOC would implement the basic principles of good governance and the Government would be expected to respect the autonomy of the Olympic Movement in India.
“Following this meeting, the NOC has immediately undertaken the revision of its statutes. This process is ongoing and is expected to be finalised very soon,” an IOC spokeswoman had stated earlier this month.
The IOC's proposed amendments would require the IOA to have 34 National federations, two IOC Members (Randhir Singh and Ashwini Kumar, the latter being an honorary member) and two representatives of the Athletes' Commission as its members.
The IOC has suggested that the IOA form an Ethics Commission and an Arbitration Commission, apart from the Athletes' Commission.
The Executive Council of the IOA may comprise the president, vice-president, two secretaries, treasurer, Athletes' Commission representative and the two IOC members apart from four other members.
Currently there are 41 members in the IOA executive including the principal office-bearers.
The IOA does not have any representative from the athletes as demanded by the Olympic Charter, either in the Executive or the General Assembly.
It had been violating this provision of the Charter for over eight decades of its existence (formed and recognised by the IOC in 1927).
The Charter provides for representation of Olympians, active or retired, in the NOC's executive.
The Charter stipulates that the voting majority in an NOC and its executive shall consist of the votes cast by the NSFs. On questions related to Olympic Games, only votes cast by the NSFs and the executive would count.
An NOC may also include as its members multi-sports groups and other sports-oriented organisations or their representatives, as well as nationals of the country liable to reinforce the effectiveness of the NOC or who have rendered distinguished services to the cause of sport and Olympism.
The IOC has reportedly stated that the State associations could be treated as sub-committees but not as members and they should not have voting rights.
An NOC can, at its discretion, also elect representatives of government and public authorities as its members.
The IOC has said that it expected the IOA to amend its constitution, sign it and dispatch it for the IOC's approval. One cannot recall when the IOC went through such an exercise in respect of the IOA's constitution.