India sports change to avoid Olympic expulsion
The Indian Olympic Association amended its constitution Sunday
to avoid expulsion from the Olympics, barring officials charged
with a crime from running for elections.
The changes were made at a meeting in New Delhi just two days
before a Tuesday deadline set by the IOC. The Indian body wanted to
bar only those convicted for two or more years and leave the lesser
cases to be judged by an internal committee.
The IOA had been facing the prospect of ”de-recognition” after
being suspended last December for not following its constitution
and electing tainted officials, notably secretary-general Lalit
Bhanot, who spent 10 months in jail on corruption charges related
to the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.
Bhanot and IOA President Abhay Chautala, charged in a
recruitment scam not related to sports, are not eligible for
elections on Feb. 9.
”The IOA has unanimously decided to amend the relevant clause
in its constitution which would bar charge-framed persons from
contesting elections,” said IOA official S. Raghunathan. ”Both
Chautala and Bhanot said they will not contest the upcoming
The IOC had been corresponding regularly for months with the
Indian body in a bid to finalize a new constitution. But the
situation had reached an impasse during a crucial period with the
Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and the Sochi Olympics all
scheduled for 2014.
India, which hopes to have the suspension lifted after the IOC
approves the new constitution, had moved close to becoming the
first country to be kicked out of the Olympic movement since South
Africa was expelled for its racial segregation policies more than
40 years ago.
IOC President Thomas Bach told The Associated Press in an
interview Saturday that it would withdraw recognition of the IOA if
it failed to comply with ”rules of good governance” before an IOC
meeting in Lausanne on Tuesday. That’s when India’s case was
scheduled for discussion.
During the suspension, the Indian body has not been receiving
IOC funding. Its officials were banned from attending Olympic
meetings and events and India’s athletes couldn’t compete in
Olympic events under their national flag.