IOA to put up an unified stand against IOC

New Delhi, Aug 24 (IANS) The differences between the suspended Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have apparently narrowed down to only vexed issue, that of barring chargesheeted officials from contesting elections.

On the eve of Sunday's General Body Meeting of the IOA, a senior official told IANS that they are expected to put up picture of complete unity when it takes up the issues raised by the IOC and also the government.

The IOA officials have also appealed to Randhir Singh, secretary general of the recognised IOC, that being an IOC member from India, he should represent India's case to the IOC. The IOC has set Sep 1 as the deadline for the IOA to hold fresh elections.

All the bigwigs of various federations, most of them politicians, have been holding meetings during the last three days to bring together various factions in the IOA.

The IOA is opposed to IOC's clause that no chargesheeted official should be allowed to contest the election, but here the officials are taking refuge under the law of the land which allows even politicians, whose appeals are pending in courts, can contest.

The Supreme Court ruled that chargesheeted Members of Parliament and MLAs, on conviction for offences, will be immediately disqualified from holding membership of the House without being given three months' time for appeal, as has been the case.

The Union government, however, moved the Supreme Court seeking a review of the judgment and the irate Members of Parliament demanded a constitutional amendment.

"When the government itself has gone in for a review petition how can we stop any member from contesting unless he is convicted," asked an IOA official.

"The debarred member can go to a court and challenge the decision," he said.

The IOC in its August 15 missive asked the IOA to amend its constitution incorporating the provision to bar tainted persons from contesting elections next month.

The contentious age and tenure clause has taken a backseat. Some of the IOA members strongly feel that when such a clause doesn't apply to the lawmakers of the country, it should not be applicable to sports administrators.

"Our prime minister is 80 years old and he is leading the country. So why should an age clause, barring administrators above the age of 70 to run for office, be introduced in Indian sports," an official asked.

The IOA was suspended by the IOC last year over its election process after Abhey Singh Chautala and Lalit Bhanot were elected president and secretary general. Bhanot along with former IOA president Suresh Klmadi have been charge-sheeted in the 2010 Commonwealth Games scam.

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