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Ban may be lifted before Feb. 23

New Delhi: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) could lift the ban on Indian Olympic Association (IOA) before the Winter Olympics in Sochi ends on February 23, senior IOC official Robin Mitchell hinted on Sunday.

This came immediately after world squash federation president Narayanswamy Ramachandran and Indian kho kho federation boss Rajiv Mehta were elected unopposed the president and secretary of the IOA, respectively.

Mitchell expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the polls. “We are going back to Sochi immediately and should be there by 5pm on Monday. We will give our report to the IOC executive board. They will take necessary actions and hopefully the outcome expected of today’s meeting will be announced very soon,” Mitchell said.

Ramachandran, who is the brother of BCCI chief N Srinivasan, said: “To the best of our knowledge, the IOC observer team is satisfied with the conduct and fairness of the elections. The house has urged them to take their report back to the IOC executive board and try and make sure the Indian athletes walk beneath the Indian tricolour at the earliest.”

But then, the IOA officials still created enough mess to raise the eyebrows. This was despite the fact that all executive members, except vice-presidents, were elected unopposed.

The worst was the way they form the panel of office bearers and executives that had more officials from the non-Olympic sports federations and state Olympic bodies. Once it dawned upon the bosses at the eleventh hour that the IOA constitution demands the majority of the committee members should be from the Olympic sports federations, two elected members were asked to resign immediately to keep the balance.

The resigned duo — Anandeshwar Pandey (UP Olympic Association) and Adhip Das (Orissa Olympic Association) — is believed to have been assured plump posts in near future by the Abhay Chautala-Lalit Bhanot group. So much so, some of the voting members were asked to refrain from voting to keep the ratio in favour of Olympic events.

Interestingly, neither Chautala nor Bhanot, whose elections to president and secretary in 2012 was declared null and void by the IOC, did not cast their votes despite their names being on the voters’ list. Both have criminal charges against them for different reasons.

Meanwhile, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) was became one of the four sporting bodies, who were barred from taking part in the elections.

While boxing, fencing and taekwondo federations were disallowed from attending the elections meetings because of the bans imposed on them by their respective world bodies, AIFF was unable to present proper documents for the electoral process.

While an IOA official said AIFF was restrained after the three-member election commission found the soccer body was late in submitting the necessary documents, football officials said there was some confusion.

“We had no information till a couple of days back that the documents should be signed by the president and secretary of the AIFF,” said federation treasurer Hardev Jadeja. “We did so immediately after we were informed. They said we were late and did not permit us to attend the meeting,” he added.