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IOC seeks autonomous NOC for Gambia, IOC letter to GNOC: Autonomy of Your NOC

Jun 15, 2012, 3:11 PM

The International Olympic Committee has written a letter to the Gambia National Olympic Committee following the submission of a report by the Sports Tribunal to the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

In the same vein, the Gambia National Olympic Committee has also filed a case to the High Court against the Sports Tribunal.

Below is the full text of the IOC letter to GNOC addressed to GNOC President and Secretary General Alh Momodou Dibba and Peter Prom.

Dear President,

Dear Secretary General,

It has come to our knowledge that a “Sports Tribunal” appointed by the Minister of Youth and Sports  of The Gambia has recently issued a number of recommendations questioning the outcomes and results of your NOC Elective General Assembly, which took place on 12 February 2011.

In view of this, we would like, once more, to recall the fundamental principle of autonomy of the NOCs and the Olympic Movement as a whole, in accordance with the Olympic charter. We would also like to clearly reaffirm that the IOC and ANOCA do not accept any outside interference with the internal affairs and operations of the NOC’s which are governed primarily by the Olympic charter and by their respective statues/constitutions adopted by their General Assemblies ( as the highest decision-making body of the NOCs)

As you know, an NOC is not a public or government body, but a non-government entity whose existence is primarily derived from the recognition granted by the IOC. Indeed, the Olympic properties, such as the Olympic rings and the word “ Olympic”, belong exclusively to the IOC, which is therefore the sole entity which may authorize a national sports organization to enjoy the status of an NOC and a “ National Olympic Committee” to designate itself as such ( once recognised by the IOC), as per the Olympic Charter.

Consequently, this so-called “Sports Tribunal” appointed by a government body has no authority to interfere with the internal operations of your NOC, including its election process.

Should this government intervention result from existing rules in the national sports legislation, which gives power to the government authorities to interfere with the internal operations of your NOC, this would mean that such national sports legislation is not compatible with the basic principles of the Olympic Charter and should therefore be revised accordingly by the relevant authorities of the country.

The IOC and ANOCA highly respect the sovereignty of each country and the power of the relevant government authorities to frame general laws and policies for the development of sport at national level.

However, if these rules are in conflict with the basic principles that govern the Olympic Movement at international level, the sports organisations of this country will unfortunately not be able to take part in international sports events under the jurisdiction of the IOC and international Sports Federations.

In view of the above, should the recommendations made by the so-called “Sports Tribunal” appointed by a government body result in concrete measures against your NOC, the IOC and ANOCA would immediately react and take appropriate measures to protect the autonomy of your NOC in accordance with Rule 27.9 of the Olympic Charter which states:

“Apart from the measures and sanctions provided in the case of infringement of the Olympic charter, the IOC Executive Board may take any appropriate decisions for the  protection of the Olympic Movement in the country  of an NOC, including  suspension of or withdrawal of recognition from such NOC of the constitution, law or other regulations in force in the country concerned, or any act by any governmental or other body causes the activities of the NOC or the making or expression of it will be hampered(…).”

We hope that the government authorities of your country will understand the seriousness of this issue and that the IOC will not be forced to take measures which would regrettably affect the representation of your delegation and the athletes of your country in the London 2012 Olympic Games which are fast approaching.

At this point in time more than ever, it is expected that all sports authorities of your country be united and work closely together for the sole benefit of the athletes of your country rather than getting into unnecessary disputes which would prevent your NOC’s delegation and your athletes from preparing for the London 2012 Olympic Games in a peaceful and serene atmosphere.

We kindly ask you to forward a copy of this letter to the relevant government authorities in your country. Please also feel free to circulate a copy of this letter to any person, authority or entity as you deem appropriate.

We thank you for your highly appreciated collaboration and we also call for the kind understanding and cooperation of the relevant government authorities in this matter.

Please keep us informed of any further developments.

Yours sincerely,

Pere Miro

IOC NOC Relations Director

Intendant General Lassana Palenfo

ANOCA President

Cc: Commonwealth Games Federation