December 8 - The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has bowed to pressure by amending its constitution and agreeing to hold new elections which will see Abhay Chautala and Lalit Bhanot replaced as President and secretary general respectively.
The IOA has been suspended by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) since December 2012 and yesterday President Thomas Bach had warned that they could face expulsion if they did not agree to the changes.
"We have done this only for the sake of the country and our athletes," said Chautala following a meeting today in New Delhi where February 9 was set for new elections.
"We still don't agree to the IOC's chargesheet clause, because that is not the law of our country.
"You can check with all IOA members, we did this only after pressure from the IOC.
"This is only why we have agreed to amend our constitution."
The row started after Bhanot, who served 11 months in custody for corruption charges relating to the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, ran unopposed for the position of secretary general in elections that the IOC refused to recognise.
Chautala is also tainted, having been charged in a recruitment scam not related to sports.
A series of recommendations had been proposed by the IOC, which included a clause which states that no person with a criminal conviction may run in IOA elections, in an an effort to get the ban lifted.
But a IOA Special General Body Meeting in New Delhi in August instead passed a diluted version of the proposal which meant that persons who have been convicted by a court for a jail term of two or more years will not be able to contest elections.
Not only did this mean Bhanot and Chautala would be able to continue to hold office but opened up the possibility of Suresh Kalmadi, the controversial former President of the IOA and chairman of the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games, could also return to a position of power.
But Bach, clearly frustrated at the length of time it was taking to reach a solution, had decided to issue the ultimate threat when he warned that the IOC were "prepared to withdraw recognition of the IOA if it fails to comply with rules of good governance" by Tuesday (December 10) when the IOC's ruling Executive Board is due to meet here.
No country has been banned from the Olympics since South Africa were expelled between 1968 and 1988 during the apartheid era.
"It's about the principles," Bach told Associated Press.
"Good governance for the IOC is a key issue.
"We need to be strict and to make sure the rules of good governance are being applied."
Since the suspension was imposed a year ago the IOA has not been receiving IOC funding, its officials have been banned from attending Olympic meetings and India's athletes have not been allowed compete in Olympic events under their national flag.
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
September 2013: India Olympic suspension remains until they ban tainted officials
August 2013: India refuses to adopt IOC proposal on tainted officials
August 2013: Indian Government backs IOC action to prevent tainted officials taking office
August 2013: Twenty four overage Indian athletes sent home from Asian Youth Games
June 2013: India to compete at Asian Indoor Games under Olympic Council of Asia flag