IOA does U-turn on contentious life presidency issue

IOA cancelled its decision of appointing Abhay Chautala and Suresh Kalmadi as life presidents, a top IOA official said on Tuesday.

IOA, Life Presidents, Suresh Kalmadi, Abhay Chautala, N. Ramachandran, Sports Ministry, Vijay Goel, IOA

IOA came under fire for appointing Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Chautala as its life presidents.

The outrage against what appeared to be attempt to rehabilitate former presidents Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Chautala within the organisation has seemingly forced the de-recognised Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to step back from appointing the two as life presidents.

In a letter to Sports Secretary Injeti Srinivas, replying to the government’s show-cause notice on the same, IOA president N. Ramachandran has claimed that the decision was never formalised by the association in its AGM on December 27. The sports ministry, on its part, welcomed the move and indicated that the national Olympic body would regain the “deemed recognition” granted to it by the ministry.

“I have seen media reports that Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has cancelled the appointment of Shri Suresh Kalmadi and Shri Abhay Singh Chautala as lifetime Presidents of IOA. I am happy that IOA has reversed its decision which augurs well for governance of sports in the country...IOA has complied with its own constitutional obligation...In the renewed circumstances, we look forward to partnering with IOA...,” Sports Minister Vijay Goel said.

Automatically nullified

Ramachandran, in his reply, clarified that the appointments were automatically nullified for not conforming to technicalities and, as such, there was no question of revoking them. “This is with reference to the letter dated 30th December suspending the deemed recognition of the Indian Olympic Association which is uncalled for. We would like to inform you that according to the constitution of IOA there is a procedure prescribed for items to be discussed in the AGM.

“In the Annual General Meeting held in Chennai on 27.12.2016, at the fag end of the meeting a point was raised by a member stating that IOA should nominate two life presidents. As no notice in writing was received at least 7 clear days as per the Constitution Clause VII no resolution was put to vote and passed,” Ramachandran wrote.

“It is also clarified that members can make proposals but if it does not meet provisions of the Constitution it cannot be assumed that the proposal has been approved and passed in the meeting. In view of the above since the proposal was not in accordance with the Constitution, the inconvenience and embarrassment caused to the individuals concerned, members of IOA and to all is regretted,” he added.

That said, there had been no objection to the proposal from any of the members present in the meeting on the day. In fact, several IOA members had defended the decision, claiming it was an honorary post with no executive powers or voting rights. Former Archery Association of India (AAI) president Vijay Kumar Malhotra is a life president.

Associate Vice President and newly-elected FIH president Narinder Batra, however, resigned in protest the next day while other federations also voiced concerns later on.

Kalmadi, meanwhile, had declined the post till his name was cleared of all charges but Chautala had insisted on hanging on, saying he would quit only on the directions of the International Olympic Committee.