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Firm IOC tells India to exclude tainted officials

By Amlan Chakraborty

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has rejected India's compromise formula and insisted the Asian nation must exclude tainted officials from office in order to overturn its Olympic ban.

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) was suspended by the IOC last December and told to amend its constitution, introducing a clause barring tainted officials from contesting elections.

The IOA partially accepted the proposal but said its ethics commission would look into cases where an official had been charged with corruption or convicted for less than two years.

India's sports ministry and leading athletes have criticized the move, while the IOC executive board did not appear amused either.

"This clause, which deals specifically with the eligibility of members, is key to the good governance of the NOC (National Olympic Committee) and needs to be fully accepted before the suspended IOA can proceed with the elections," the IOC said after Wednesday's meeting in Buenos Aires.

IOA vice president Tarlochan Singh said they were still awaiting an official communication.

"Once we receive that, we'll have to call a meeting and the general assembly will decide what next," Singh told Reuters.

"Being charged is a minor thing, while conviction is altogether a different issue. The IOC has to consider that," he added.

The IOC banned India and refused to recognize the results of IOA elections last year due to government interference, which led to Lalit Bhanot, who served 11 months in jail on corruption charges, being named secretary general.

(Editing by Alison Wildey)

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