Lee Kee-heung will stand for a second term as KSOC President ©IOC

South Korea's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has permitted changes to the Korean Sport and Olympic Committee (KSOC) election rules, which will enable Lee Kee-heung to stand for a second term without risking his International Olympic Committee (IOC) membership.

Lee was elected to the IOC last year with his membership linked to his role as KSOC President.

Under the KSOC statutes, Lee would have needed to resign 90 days prior to the upcoming KSOC Presidential election if he were to seek a second term.

Earlier this month he requested the Ministry approve amendments made by the KSOC in April, which would suspend him from serving as the organisation's President during the election campaign, rather than resigning.

Park Yang-woo, South Korea's Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, has now approved the changes requested by the KSOC.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said it continues to demand measures to strengthen fairness regarding the elections within the KSOC, however, which they say led to the development of an "election fairness plan".

Under the plan, Lee will be prevented from involvement in office work other than as a member of the IOC.

An Election Steering Committee will consist of personnel outside of the KSOC, while the election period will be expanded from 12 to 20 days.

The KSOC must also hold and broadcast candidate policy discussions.

The Ministry said it had permitted the changes in the KSOC on the condition that the election fairness plan is adopted, along with strict compliance with future fairness measures.

"The elections for the President of the KSOC will be conducted under the supervision of the Central Election Commission under the Consignment Election Act," a statement from the policy manager of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism read.

"The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism will do its best to supervise the management by continuing to investigate (monitoring) whether the elections for the President of the KSOC are conducted in accordance with the revised election management regulations."

The election is expected to take place on January 18.

Lee Kee-heung's IOC membership is linked to his status as KSOC President ©Getty Images
Lee Kee-heung's IOC membership is linked to his status as KSOC President ©Getty Images

Concerns over potential Government interference in the KSOC have been raised by the IOC prior to the election.

Last month they warned the South Korean Government over interference, after plans to split the KSOC into two separate entities were seemingly revived.

IOC director of Olympic Solidarity and NOC relations James Macleod said the organisation was "very concerned by external pressures" from the Government to break up the KSOC.

Macleod also claimed the South Korean Government had blocked the implementation of the KSOC's new statutes, which had been approved by the IOC, "for unknown reasons".

Should the Government fail to heed the warnings, the KSOC could face suspension from the IOC.

A South Korean Government Committee last year recommended the KSOC be divided into two entities – one functioning as the NOC and the other overseeing sports for all – amid abuse scandals and allegations of corruption.

South Korean athletes have made further allegations of abuse in recent months, including triathlete Choi Suk-hyeon.

Choi took her own life in July after alleging she had endured years of physical and verbal abuse from her coaching staff.

The KSOC, which upheld bans given to an athlete and a coach following Choi's death, has been criticised by the Sports Ministry for its handling of the abuse.