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‘Sports associations operations slow down advancement of sports’

Feb 23, 2015, 9:55 AM

Marcel Mendy, executive director of the National Sports Council (NSC), has said the NSC, which is charged with the responsibility of monitoring, regulating, registering of national sports associations/committees/federations and coordinating sports activities in The Gambia, among other things, “has realized that one of the fundamental factors affecting the development of sports in The Gambia was that there are a very few among the sports structures that operate and do business as required of them, and thus slowing down the advancement of sports to a great extent.”

Mr Mendy was speaking last Friday during a press conference meant to announce the list of approved National Sports Associations/Federations/Committees.

He said given this fact, therefore, a decision was reached to regularize the situation by ensuring that only those sports bodies which meet the minimum standards are registered as national sports bodies, with a view to ensuring that our athletes do better than they are currently doing.

He added that following the drafting and validation of registration criteria for national sports associations/federations/committees at a national validation forum, the NSC finalized and adopted the registration criteria, which had been printed.

Soon after that, the general public was duly informed of the availability of application forms at the National Sports Council secretariat through a press release detailing, among other things, the deadline for registration, he went on.

This was later followed by another press release dated December 31st, 2014 extending the deadline to 11th January, 2015 instead of the earlier announced January 5th, 2015.

By January 11th, 2015 twenty sports bodies had applied for registration, following the submission of their filled application forms, he said, adding that their applications were reviewed by a panel established by the NSC.

After the review of the applications, applicants were invited to an interview attended by the presidents and secretary generals of the various sports bodies that had applied.

Since then, the NSC had always promised to relay the outcome of the process to the general public through a press conference, and successful applicants will be issued a certificate of registration and a letter detailing their shortcomings for their immediate action, Mr Mendy said.

He apologized for failing to get back to the public on the date they had promised to announce the outcome of the process.

This was as a result of the voluminous work required to complete the process, “and also our desire to ensure that we do an impeccable piece of work,” he added.

It is believed that at the end of it all, there will no longer be “briefcase” sports associations who will only scout for travelling opportunities but rather well-structured sports associations/federations/committees who will help develop the athletes in the interest of the nation.

He added that these will be bodies that will enhance the performance of Gambian athletes; enable Executive members of national associations to manage, but at the same time be held more accountable; ensure effective service delivery by national associations; ensure that the conducive environment is created for athletes to excel; ensure that athletes who represent The Gambia in international competitions are selected through the right process; ensure that only functional sports bodies represent The Gambia in international functions; ensure the timely provision of quality information, among others.

The NSC executive director took the opportunity to reiterate the call for embassies and consulates to request from all sports bodies and individuals wanting to travel to represent The Gambia in international meetings/conferences/fora and or competitions to provide proof of clearance from the National Sports Council.

He also called on all stakeholders to collaborate with and support the National Sports Council in its quest to move Gambian sports to a higher pedestal.

Following applications and the review process, the following sports bodies scored 80% and above and were, therefore, declare registered as National Sports Associations/Federation/Committee:

The Gambia Football Federation, Gambia Basketball Association, Gambia Volleyball Association, Gambia Athletics Association, Gambia Draught Association, Gambia Cricket Association, Gambia Wrestling Association, Gambia Paralympics Committee and Gambia Deaf Sports Association.

The aforementioned will be issued certificates of registration and a letter detailing a few things they will have to improve upon within one year of receipt of the said letter, he concluded.