Neven Ilic has embarked on a Caribbean tour in his bid for the PASO Presidency ©PASO

Chile's Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) Presidential contender Neven Ilic has been cleared of breaking any electoral rules after embarking on a tour of the Caribbean alongside the body's vice-president Ivar Sisniega.

It comes as a frenetic 90 day period of campaigning intensifies building up to elections scheduled for the continental body's General Assembly on April 26 in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Ilic is one of five men to have formally confirmed their bid to lead the continental body this week alongside St Vincent and the Grenadines' Keith Joseph, Brazil's Carlos Nuzman, St Lucia's Richard Peterkin and Dominican Republic's José Joaquín Puello.

The Chilean Olympic Committee President has toured the Caribbean region over the last week in an attempt to boost support outside his South American heartland.

He was accompanied by PASO first vice-president Ivar Sisniega.

Sisniega, a three-time Olympian in modern pentathlon and former Mexican Sports Minister, is an experienced regional official who was himself mooted as a possible Presidential contender following the death of longstanding leader and fellow countryman Mario Vázquez Raña in February 2015.

However, concerns were raised because the 58-year-old is also President of the Association of PASO Sports Confederations (ACODEPA).

Article 11 of electoral rules circulated late last year stipulated how: "PASO honorary members, 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."

insidethegames understands that there was substantial concern that rules were being broken.

But Ilic has denied that any wrongdoing has been committed and revealed how they had received permission.

Ivar Sisniega, centre, pictured representing PASO at the Closing Ceremony of the Pan American Games in Toronto ©Getty Images
Ivar Sisniega, centre, pictured representing PASO at the Closing Ceremony of the Pan American Games in Toronto ©Getty Images

"Ivar Sisniega is accompanying me on part of my campaign trip because in case that I win the Presidency he will be an important part of my team, because I feel he has a great deal of experience and has a lot to contribute to PASO," the Chilean told insidethegames. 

"And we checked with the PASO President as well as legal counsel and there is absolutely no problem with him taking part in my campaign. 

"He is one of the three PASO vice-president's and a member of his NOC for the past 20 years. 

"He is campaigning with me in this capacity and ACODEPA has nothing to do with this election.

"I am simply doing my job as a candidate and presenting my proposals openly to the Caribbean nations. 

"More importantly, I have had the chance to listen to their ideas and get a clear picture of what they expect from PASO in the future."

PASO Legislative Committee President Michael Chambers supported this account when contacted by insidethegames. 

"The PASO Election Regulations do not forbid Ivar Sisniega from participating in the election," he said.

"The Regulations do provide that third parties, including ACODEPA, are not to make any public declarations of support for any candidate. 

"To my knowledge ACODEPA has never made any declaration of support for any candidate.

"Ivar as I understand it has in every case made it clear that he is acting in his personal or PASO capacity."

PASO secretary general Jimena Saldana added: "We are confident that the candidates and our member NOCs are observing the regulations regarding the Election of the PASO President and that in case of any concern, we will be duly consulted or informed by the corresponding party, to avoid any breach of said regulations."

The PASO electoral timetable was confirmed at an Extraordinary General Assembly in Doha in November ©Getty Images
The PASO electoral timetable was confirmed at an Extraordinary General Assembly in Doha in November ©Getty Images

A key next step on the campaign trail is due to begin on Thursday (February 2) when an Extraordinary General Assembly of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC) begins in Barranquilla, Colombia.

All of the candidates are expected to attend except for Peterkin.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) member wrote in a letter sent to CANOC members earlier this month that he was applying as a precaution to ensure that, if other candidates drop out or circumstances change, he will still be able to run.

He added how, in all probability, he will withdraw from the contest and support one of the two other Caribbean contenders, Puello or Joseph.

The Caribbean has already emerged as the main battlefield in the contest.

Support there is thought to be split at the moment as the candidates strive to gain support among the English, French, Dutch and Spanish-speaking contingents.

Ilic is, at 54, the youngest of the candidates and the one with the best chance of being made an IOC member if he is elected. 

But he will need to work hard to assure voters who are, in many cases, far more familiar with his rivals.

St Vincent and the Grenadines Olympic Committee general secretary Joseph and Brazilian Olympic Committee head Nuzman are currently the two other PASO vice-presidents alongside Sisniega.

Puello spent 22 years as Dominican National Olympic Committee President until 2004 and also played a key role in organising the 2003 Pan American Games in Santa Domingo.

IOC honorary member Nuzman also served as President of the Organising Committee for the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The 74-year-old has run a low-profile campaign so far and faces the challenge of convincing voters of his suitability following problems faced throughout Rio 2016.

The quintet are bidding to replace Uruguay's Julio Maglione, elected following the death of longtime Mexican leader Mario Vázquez Raña in February 2015.