New Delhi: The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has called a Special General Body Meeting in New Delhi on 29 November to "discuss and interpret" the eligibility criteria for election to the post of president and secretary general ahead of the 14 December polls.
The IOA has already set into motion the process of electing a new set of office bearers and 29 November has been set as the last date of filing nomination papers.
The development will add fuel to speculations that International Hockey Federation (FIH) President Narinder Batra could contest for the post of president. Incumbent president N Ramachandran has already declared himself out of the race.
It is also learnt that current IOA treasurer and former All India Tennis Association (AITA) chief Anil Khanna is also in the fray for the post of president. Besides, three candidates could file nominations for the post of treasurer.
"In accordance with the decision of the Executive Council meeting of the IOA held on 9th November 2017 in Chennai and in reference to the letter dated 8th November 2017 received from the IOC, a special GBM of the IOA is hereby called under section VIII (i) of the IOA Constitution," IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta said in the IOA notice.
The SGM will be held at 11 am at the IOA headquarters in New Delhi. Interestingly, the filing of nominations to elect the office bearers will be closed at 2 pm the same day.
The top agenda of the SGM is to "discuss and properly interpret the meaning" of Clause XI (1) (c) in the light of Clause XXXI (e) and based on elections held after the 2013 amendment of IOA statutes.
Clause XI (1) (c) states that: "However it shall be a mandatory requirement for elections to the Posts of President and Secretary General that only those members, who had held the office and were members in the preceding Executive Council of the IOA, shall be eligible to contest the elections."
Clause XXXI (e) says: "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."
IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta said that a person who was in the preceding executive council (just prior to 2014-17) will also be eligible to contest for the top two posts.
"We should remember that when the IOA elections were held in February 2014 under the guidance of the IOC, the members of executive councils of 2008-12 and 2012-14 were allowed to contest elections and so this time also those in the executive councils of 2012-14 and 2014-17 would be allowed to contest elections (for president and secretary general)," Mehta told PTI.
Mehta said that the SGM has not been called to amend the clause relating to the eligibility criteria for the post of president and secretary general but to bring clarity on the issue.
There has been speculation that Batra, who was elected as FIH president in 2016, could throw his head into the ring now that Ramachandran has opted out and the likes of Abhay Singh Chautala are not eligible to contest elections, though he has not dropped any hints to do so till now.
Earlier on 8 November, the IOC had told the IOA in a letter to hold the elective General Assembly in accordance with the Olympic Charter and the IOA Constitution currently in force, as approved by the international body.
The international parent body also said that the election process should be conducted by an independent Election Commission in line with the election bye-laws established for the last IOA elections in 2014.
"It is also understood that in the event of any doubt as to the interpretation and/or implementation of the IOA Constitution, the matter will be referred to the General Assembly for a final decision, as clearly mentioned in Article XXXI (e) of the IOA Constitution," the IOC said in the letter.
"We are counting on your collaboration and call upon all the members of the IOA to act responsibly to ensure that this election process takes place smoothly and successfully, without any unnecessary complications, in the interest of your NOC and the Olympic Movement in your country," the IOC added.
Updated Date: Nov 22, 2017 11:15 AM