Updated: Sunday, 08 December 2013 22:28 | By Agence France-Presse

India bows to Olympic diktat to prevent Games ouster

The Indian Olympic Association on Sunday agreed to amend its constitution and bar tainted officials from holding office, as demanded by the world body, to ensure it remains part of the Games movement.


India bows to Olympic diktat to prevent Games ouster

India's delegation led by flagbearer and shooter Abhinav Bindra arrives for the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in New Delhi on October 3, 2010

A special IOA meeting in New Delhi decided to elect new office-bearers on February 9, while keeping president Abhay Singh Chautala and secretary-general Lalit Bhanot out of the election process.

Chautala is facing criminal charges over a recruitment scam unrelated to sport, while Bhanot is out on bail after being jailed last year for corruption linked to the chaotic 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

Senior IOA member S. Reghunathan, who chaired the meeting, said he hoped the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will approve the amendments made by the Indian body so that fresh elections can be held.

"It was unanimously decided to amend the relevant clause in the IOA constitution so that charge-sheeted persons would be barred from contesting elections," Reghunathan told reporters after the meeting.

"Both Chautala and Bhanot told the house they will not contest the upcoming elections. In fact, Chautala proposed the amendment and Bhanot seconded it."

The IOC had suspended the IOA on December 5 last year for not abiding by the Olympic charter on good governance following the election of Chautala and Bhanot.

Despite repeated IOC warnings, the Indian body had refused to sack the pair on the grounds that the law of the land allows people charged with criminal offences to stand for elections until courts declare them guilty.

Indian sports minister Jitendra Singh, who had met IOC officials in Lausanne in May to resolve the issue, had urged the IOA to follow the governing body's instructions.

The IOA made the U-turn and amended its constitution after it became apparent that the IOC would de-recognise the world's second most populous nation from the Olympic movement if the changes were not carried out.

Withdrawal of recognition would mean that India would not only be deprived of funding from the world body and its athletes barred from Olympic events, but the IOA would cease to exist.

India has won eight Olympic gold medals in field hockey -- the last of which came at the western-boycotted Moscow Games of 1980 -- and just one individual gold through shooter Abhinav Bindra in 2008.

Bindra has led a popular campaign along with numerous Indian sportsmen like tennis player Mahesh Bhupathi, golfer Shiv Kapur and shooter Ronjan Sodhi to cleanse the IOA.

Bindra, who was away in Doha, tweeted on Sunday: "Happy to note some meaningful steps to bring India back in the Olympic fold."

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