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IOA has established equal male and female representation with voting rights in the General Assembly | More sports news

NEW DELHI: The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) will have equal representation of male and female voting members in the General Assembly, a remarkable feat given its troubled and faction-ridden recent past, when it approves the draft constitution at its Special Assembly on Nov. 10.
The IOA will also open the post of the president to any citizen of the country, a radical change from the previous requirement that a candidate have served on the executive committee.
A similar provision was included in the articles of association of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) recently after it was briefly banned by international parent body FIFA.
The elected Secretary General, which has historically been held by a number of prominent personalities, will no longer exist and his role will be taken over by a CEO appointed by the Executive Board.
The CEO has no voting rights and is an ex-officio member of the executive board.
The draft constitution, prepared by the Supreme Court-appointed one-man committee of retired SC Judge L Nageswara Rao and approved by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), is expected to be adopted by the IOA at its SGM here on Nov. 10. The SC has approved elections on December 10.
However, some members and officials are not happy with some of the draft constitution’s provisions, such as the tenure rule and the lifting of the presidential candidate’s restrictive clause, which they say could lead to powerful politicians or those with strong political connections occupying top jobs.
The General Assembly will be composed of two representatives — one man and one woman — with one vote each from the national federations whose sports are included in the Olympic/Asian/Human Games program, IOC members in India, two representatives of the Athlete Commission — one man and one woman — with one vote each and eight representatives — four men and four women — who are Athletes of Exceptional Merit (SOM) with one vote each.
As expected, the state Olympic associations will no longer have voting rights.
Since India’s only IOC member is currently Nita Ambani, the IOA General Assembly will have more female members than male members in terms of voting rights.
Ambani welcomed the draft constitution and praised the greater representation of athletes and women in the document.
According to clause 11 of the draft constitution, the Executive Council will have 15 members, in addition to the IOC member in India, of which at least four are female members.
The Executive Council has one president, one senior vice president, two vice presidents — one man and one woman — one treasurer, two joint secretaries — one man and one woman — six other members of which two — one man and one woman — – will be from among the elected SOMs, two representatives — one male and one female — elected by the Athlete Committee from among its members.
The IOC member(s) in India must be ex officio member(s) of the Executive Council with voting rights.
Athletes of exceptional merit are those who have retired from active sports (not been allowed to participate in a competitive event for at least one year prior to the date of application) and have won at least one of the gold, silver or bronze medals in the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games or Asian Games.
The voting majority of the Executive Council consists of the votes cast by the federations affiliated to the international sports federations included in the program of the Olympic Games or their representatives in accordance with the Olympic Charter.
To be eligible to become an office holder of the Executive Council, a member must be a citizen of the country, in full possession of his/her civil rights, less than 70 years of age on the election date, not convicted or possessed have had a negative opinion from the Ethics Committee, and have not had charges filed by a court in India.
Under the terms of office guidelines set out in clause 14, no office holder may serve for more than three terms. No member may hold one or more office holders for more than two consecutive terms.
An office holder must undergo a four-year cooling off period after two consecutive terms, after which he/she will be eligible for another term in office. Two terms are considered consecutive when the distance between them is less than the cooling period.
Current Secretary General Rajeev Mehta, who has served two terms in office, is said to be unhappy with some of the provisions of the draft constitution.
“He (Mehta) is not happy with some of the provisions of the draft constitution, including the term of office rule. He believes he has done a good job but may need to go through a cooling off period to challenge again,” an official close to Mehta said. .
“There is also some doubt as to whether he is eligible for a position.”
Members who have already served three terms (consecutive or not) in office of office holder are not eligible for office.
The age limit for each office holder is 70 years on the election date.
The draft constitution undeniably gave precedence to the Olympic Charter over the country’s statutes.
It said the Olympic Charter will take precedence over the provisions of the Societies Registration Act of 1860, under which it was established, as applicable in NCT of Delhi.
It also said that “no provisions of the National Sporting Code will apply to the IOA if they conflict with the Olympic Charter and this newly adopted constitution”.
“In all matters relating to the interpretation and application of the Constitution, as well as in matters not specifically provided for herein, the decision of the General Assembly shall be final and binding on all concerned, to the extent that such decision does not conflict with with the Olympic Charter,” it said.
The IOA elections were scheduled to take place in December last year but could not be held due to a pending case in the Delhi High Court, where a petition was filed to amend the constitution before elections were held to bring it into line with the National Sports Code.
The IOC, which had threatened to ban India if the IOA elections are not held in December, had previously agreed “in principle” to most of the points raised by the Delhi Supreme Court in its August decision, saying they were compatible with the Olympic Charter and the basic principles of good governance, except for two important points.
Rao had consulted extensively with various stakeholders including lawyer Rahul Mehra, the original petitioner of the Delhi Supreme Court, officials from the IOA, Ministry of Sports, Sports Authority of India, NIS Patiala and many NSFs.

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