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Key PASO meeting to coincide with start of Olympic torch relay in Brasilia

PASO will hold their Extraordinary General Assembly in Brasilia ©Getty Images

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The Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) has fixed the date of a key Extraordinary General Assembly to agree and adopt its new Constitution for May 4 and 5 in Brasilia.

The move means that those assembling for the occasion will be able to witness the beginning of the 95-day Brazilian leg of the Olympic torch’s journey to the Maracanã Stadium for the start of the Rio 2016 Games.

After being lit in April in Ancient Olympia, the torch will be passed to Rio 2016 organisers for the start of the Brazilian relay in the country’s capital city on May 3.

The new PASO Constitution is set to result in a significant dilution of the voting power of countries which have hosted the Pan American Games on multiple occasions.

A proposed version of the new document approved for circulation last year by the PASO Executive Committee contains two options: the first of these amounts to a simple “one country one vote” formula; the second would permit a second vote for past Games hosts, but only for elections to determine where future events will be staged.

The Constitution that is being replaced favours the region’s bigger nations, giving past Pan American Games hosts up to five votes in both host city and Executive Committee elections, including the election of the President.

It is understood that consideration was given, initially, to holding the meeting in El Salvador in March, but a date convenient for all proved elusive.

With Presidential elections due, an Ordinary General Assembly, governed by the new Constitution, is also expected this year – almost certainly now after the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

José Joaquín Puello of the Dominican Republic emerged as a candidate last month.

His rivals are expected to include Carlos Nuzman, the Rio 2016 President, and perhaps others.

The final list of candidates to succeed President Julio Maglione, the 80-year-old Uruguayan who is completing the late Mario Vázquez Raña’s term but has promised not to seek the role on a permanent basis, may hinge ultimately on the qualification criteria that the new Constitution outlines.

A working document seen by insidethegames contained wording insisting on three years’ experience as a top National Olympic Committee (NOC) official “immediately preceding” a Presidential candidate’s nomination.

The meeting in Brasilia is also expected to see adoption by PASO of a Code of Ethics similar to the International Olympic Committee’s Code.

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