Sep 1, 2008, 8:28 AM
National University Sports Federation (NUSF) Gambia have recently presented its
sport recommendations (Position Paper) to the Constitutional Review Commission
(CRC) following their observations on the first Draft Constitution.
The NUSF commended the CRC collectively and individually for expressing their love and loyalty to the nation by exerting all efforts to make sure that the wishes and aspirations of all Gambians are echoed in the draft constitution, as we march to carve out an inclusive and progressive future for the country.
However, they observe that although sport is a very important social and economic factor in any nation’s development, is not mentioned even a single time in the first draft constitution.
Therefore, they collected suggestions and recommendations from sport stakeholders, which they presented to the CRC for consideration.
“We believe that sport must be constitutionally and legally recognized in the draft constitution,’’ said the NUSF.
Meanwhile the NUSF recommended for the establishment of a Sport Court/Tribunal, construction of sport Infrastructure (accessibility to people with disabilities), Sport Law, as well as budgetary allocation for sport.
On Sport Law the federation suggested that “this legislation should outline matters related to commercialisation, contracts, sports disputes, protection of athletes’ rights, protection of people with disabilities, hosting of international events, funding of national teams and national associations, transparency, accountability and good governance”.
On the establishment of Sport Court/Tribunal the NUSF suggested that there is an urgent need for the establishment of a competent court/tribunal to settle all sport related disputes, before such matters are referred or appealed to the Court of Arbitration (CAS) for Sport in Lausanne (Switzerland).
“The proposed Sports Tribunal should have jurisdiction to hear appeals from decisions of the National Sports Council, National Sports Associations or Regional Sport Committees (and other sports-related disputes), where mutually agreed by all interested parties. We further recommend that the constitution formally recognizes the proposed Sports Tribunal, as it does to the District Tribunals and other judicial bodies, `` went on the position paper.
On the construction of Sport Infrastructure (accessibility to people with disabilities) they noted that section 56 of the Draft Constitution provides for disability rights, including the right to equal treatment and dignity but suggested for the section to specify the rights of people with disabilities, to engage in sports and to have access to suitable sport facilities.
“In addition, we recommend that the right to practice in sports and the availability of sport facilities be specifically recognized among the social rights of all citizens. This is a necessity because lack of infrastructures in our communities has contributed to widespread apathy towards sports in the country, `` they also said.
On budgetary allocation for sport the federation said in their view, sport has not been sufficiently supported in the national budget over the years.
“The budgetary allocations for sport have always been relatively insignificant, being treated in conjunction with youth activities in general”, observed the federation and for this reason, recommend that the budgetary allocation for sport be increased to a far more significant percentage of the national budget.
“Sport do not only contributes to youth and community development and empowerment but is a proven significant tool for social change, health, education equity and transformation as well as for economic development,’’ said NUSF.
In conclusion they requested that the above recommendations in the interest of sport be included in the constitution to ensure the construction of a healthy, peaceful and active society through sport participation.