Francesco Ricci Bitti could potentially stand for another term as ASOIF President despite stepping down from the ITF Presidency ©Getty Images

It remains possible Francesco Ricci Bitti will be able to stand for a second term as President of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) despite relinquishing the Presidency of the International Tennis Federation (ITF), insidethegames has been told.

The Italian - who assumed his duties as ASOIF President in 2013 after being elected in 2012 - has announced that he does not intend to stand for what would be a fifth term as ITF President at the Annual General Meeting in Santiago on September 25. 

ITF Board members Juan Margets, Anil Khanna, David Haggerty and Rene Stammbach have each already declared their intentions to replace him.

But, if he wishes, Ricci Bitti could still stand for a second term as ASOIF President next year despite not leading an International Federation, so long as he remains active within the ITF Council,

"According to ASOIF Statutes, President Ricci Bitti will continue in office until the end of 2016 in any case," ASOIF executive director Andrew Ryan told insidethegames.

"He could re-stand for election for a new four-year term as President so long as he is supported by, and has a role within the Council of, his Federation."

Francesco Ricci Bitti pictured at last month's ASOIF General Assembly in Sochi ©Twitter
Francesco Ricci Bitti pictured at last month's ASOIF General Assembly in Sochi ©Twitter

Ricci Bitti became the third ASOIF President, replacing Switzerland's former International Rowing Federation chief Denis Oswald, who spent 12 years at the helm of the Summer Olympic body from 2000 to 2012.

Before him, Italy's International Association of Athletics Federations President Primo Nebiolo served as President from the founding of ASOIF in 1983 until his death in 1999.

This means that, if Ricci Bitti was to continue in his role, he would become the first ASOIF President to do so when not serving as an IF head, although if does not remain on the ITF Council, this would presumably not be an option anyway.

The 73-year-old has gained a reputation for his forthright and honest nature in recent years, being outspoken in his criticism of preparations for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the the body's 2014 General Assembly in Belek, before being similarly blunt in rebuking Marius Vizer for his critical comments about the International Olympic Committee and its President Thomas Bach at last month's event in Sochi.

There are no clear alternatives to Ricci Bitti as ASOIF President at the moment, with the body's freshly appointed vice-president, International Boxing Association head CK Wu, the current ASOIF representative on the IOC Executive Board, due to the fact Ricci Bitti is over the age limit of 70 so no longer a member of the IOC. 

Related stories:
May 2015:
International Tennis Federation Presidential contender seeks "reform" over "revolution" as four-horse race emerges
May 2012: Ricci Bitti confirmed as sole candidate for ASOIF Presidency