Free Press Journal

No clarity still over support regarding IOA chief’s ouster


N Ramachandran

New Delhi: All India Football Federation has joined the bandwagon of those national and state sports bodies which have called for the ouster of Indian Olympic Association chief N Ramachandran even as there’s no clarity regarding the strength of the support of the move.

The AIFF is the latest to join the move spearheaded by Hockey India President Narinder Batra who has claimed that more than 50 per cent of the National Sports Federations and state Olympic units have supported to vote in the No Confidence Motion against Ramachandran.

“We request you to convene the Special General Meeting (SGM) of the IOA at the earliest to discuss on the vote of no confidence against Mr Narayana Ramachandran, President IOA,” the letter, addressed to IOA President and Secretary General, and signed by AIFF President Praful Patel and General Secretary Kushal Das, said.

Batra has claimed support of 19 NSFs (out of 36) and 18 state Olympic units (out of 35). A few of the NSFs and the state Olympic units which he claimed to have supported the move have not done so formally. At least one NSF, Batra claimed to have supported Ramachandran’s ouster, has not been recognised by the IOA.

He has also claimed to have got the support of Athletics Federation of India which, however, has made it clear that it only wanted the convening of a SGM but not the tabling of a No Confidence Motion against Ramachandran.

It is also learnt that an informal meeting of some IOA members was held here late last month in which former president Abhay Singh Chautala and ex-secretary general Lalit Bhanot reportedly told them not to take part in the move to oust Ramachandran.

An official who was present in that informal meeting said that the IOA members did not discuss anything related to Ramachandran. He added that the situation was fluid and nothing can be said as of now.

According to IOA constitution, a No Confidence Motion against the president, secretary general, treasurer and other executive council members can be passed if two-third majority of members are present and voting. The quorum for such a meeting will have to be three-fourths of the total strength of the IOA General Body entitled to vote.

The IOA General Body has 183 votes in total — three each for NSFs and two each for state Olympic bodies. A SGM may be convened at any time by IOA president or the Executive Council or on a written requisition signed by presidents and secretaries of not less than 50 per cent member units within one month from the date of receipt by the president of the said requisition.

If the president of IOA fails to convene a meeting, then the requisitionists can convene the meeting under arrangements made directly by them. The infighting among the top brass of the IOA, which came out of a 14-month suspension only last year, got exposed just days after International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach’s first visit to the country after taking over as IOC chief in 2013.

In his one-day whirlwind visit on April 27, Bach had called for unity among the IOA members so that they can work together for the betterment of Indian sports and sportspersons. He has also laid to rest the speculation that India may bid for 2024 Olympic Games.

Discontent against Ramachandran had been brewing for quite some time now with many members feeling that the IOA chief was running the show all by himself without consulting other officials.

Ramachandran’s move to keep IOA office bearers, including secretary general Rajiv Mehta, in the dark before he visited Bach in Lausanne, Switzerland, along with sports secretary Ajit Sharan also did not go down well with some members.