PASO have introduced strict criteria governing their electoral campaigns over the next four months ©PASO

Strict electoral regulations reducing the way in which candidates can campaign for the Presidency of the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) have been circulated by the continental body.

The rules restrict publicity and trips associated with bids for any elected Executive Committee position.

They also outlaw the exchange of gifts and promises, as well as deals between contenders for different positions.

An accompanying letter sent by interim PASO President Julio Maglione claimed that the changes have been introduced to improve the "transparency of this process".

But the rules, which have been obtained by insidethegames, have not yet been publicly disclosed.

A PASO Presidential election to replace Maglione is due to take place at the General Assembly on April 27 and 28 in Montevideo.

The five current contenders are Brazilian Olympic Committee and Rio 2016 President Carlos Nuzman, St Vincent and Grenadines Olympic Committee general secretary Keith Joseph, St Lucian International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Richard Peterkin, Dominican Republic's José Joaquín Puello and Chilean Olympic Committee President Neven Ilic.

PASO President Julio Maglione sent a letter to all National Olympic Committees to accompany the list of rules ©Getty Images
PASO President Julio Maglione sent a letter to all National Olympic Committees to accompany the list of rules ©Getty Images

Some elements, such as a ban on negative campaigning, are common with rules implemented at virtually all elections in international sport.

Others, however, appear more strict.

"The promotion of a candidature for PASO President or any other elected PASO Executive Committee position shall exclude any form of publicity, including the use of new media or social networks," reads Article 4 on promotion.

Article 5, on Trips and Visiting National Olympic Committee (NOC) officials, reads: "Candidates shall limit the number of trips that they make with a view to promoting their candidature in order to avoid excessive expenditure, which could lead to being a factor of inequality amongst candidates.

"Visits between candidates and NOCs and NOC officials are not encouraged and must be moderate in number, if any at all. 

"Any such visits organised specifically in connection with a candidature shall be reported to the secretary general."

Other elements make clear how "no public meeting or gathering of any kind may be organised in the framework of promoting a candidature" and that "no assistance, whether financial, material or in kind, be it direct or indirect, may be given to candidates by an NOC (other than his or her own NOC) or NOC official, including NOC Presidents and secretary generals". 

Article 8 rules how "candidates may in no case and under no pretext give presents, offer donations or gifts or grant advantages of whatever nature, including the exclusion of even those of nominal value, to any person or organisation".

Article 9, meanwhie, warns that "no candidate may enter into a promise or undertaking to be performed, whatever the timing of such performance, for the direct or indirect personal benefit of a PASO NOC official".

It adds: "Any election campaign promises that are for the benefit of any one or more PASO NOCs must not be concealed and must be publicly disclosed prior to the election."

The PASO electoral timetable was only finalised at a Extraordinary General Assembly in Doha in November ©Getty Images
The PASO electoral timetable was only finalised at a Extraordinary General Assembly in Doha in November ©Getty Images

Written manifestos are permitted, but should "only be sent and shared with NOC Presidents and secretary-generals", with candidates ordered to "refrain from participating in any promotional and/or communication campaign based on their written document".

Article 20 also outlaws any "understanding, coalition or collusion between or among candidates with intent to influence the result of the vote".

"PASO honorary members, Association of PASO Sports Confederations (ACODEPA), Pan American Sport Confederations, Pan American Games Organizing and Bid Committees, PASO or Pan American Games sponsors and partners, and all other third parties associated with PASO" must all remain neutral and "refrain from making any public declaration and may in no way support a candidature," it states.

NOCs or group of NOCs are, however, allowed to make such declarations of support.

Many of these rules will be open to interpretation and, presumably, some leeway, because it appears hard for many of them to be observed in the reality of a sporting election.

The three Caribbean contenders, for instance, have already announced a plan to work together and for two to ultimately withdraw in favour of the figure who proves to be the strongest.

insidethegames has contacted PASO to ask for more clarification about the new rules.

These new electoral regulations can be read in full here