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IOC urges NOCSL to respect guidelines

By Champika Fernando

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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) this week asked its local representative –the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka (NOCSL) –to reconstitute the ‘unconstitutionally’ formed Athletes Commission.

The NOCSL had set up the Athletes Commission, a mandatory requirement under the Olympic Charter, as a closed-door business by handpicking certain individuals. But the membership has urged NOCSL’s top rankers to respect IOC guidelines when forming the commission, a vital cog in local body’s wheel.

“The only amendment proposal (attached) that you have received to Article 5.1 (d) is not acceptable because it would go against Rule 28.1.3 of the Olympic Charter,” the IOC wrote. It proposed a more inclusive approach in the establishment of the commission by not necessarily restricting membership to athletes with prior Olympic participation. They have also suggested three options.

“In other words, this means that the composition of the Athletes’ Commission is not necessarily restricted to athletes who have participated in the Olympic Games (it is up to each NOC to decide and the composition may be broader, as clearly mentioned in the basic requirements of the IOC guidelines) but at least two of their three representatives in the NOC governing bodies – namely, two in the NOC General Assembly, as per Article 5.1 (d), and one in the NOC Executive Board, as per Article 16.1 (h) – must be elected from among those who have participated in at least one of the last three editions of the Olympic Games,” the letter further reads.

The NOC’s new draft constitution, which is up for adoption at an upcoming Extraordinary General Assembly (EGA), calls for mandatory Olympic participation—an exclusive clause which prevents a majority of athletes participating at national level from being included in the commission.

It reads: “Two athletes’ representatives (with one vote each) elected by the COMMITTEE’s Athletes’ Commission established as per the IOC guidelines. Those elected representatives must have taken part in at least one of the last three editions of the Olympic Games.”

The General Secretary has now asked all National Sports Federations to nominate two names to be considered for election to the Athletes Commission. The poll is expected soon after the EGA, where the newly-elected members pick a Chair and their two representatives in the NOC General Assembly as well as the representative in the NOCSL Executive Board. Out of the three, two will have voting rights at a future election. Incumbent officials allegedly attempted to exploit this by unconstitutionally forming the commission and getting their henchmen elected to the NOC General Assembly and the Executive board.

Extraordinary General Assembly further delayed

Despite clear instructions from the IOC to hold an EGA to adopt the proposed NOCSL constitution, appoint members of the election commission, vet the eight new members and also fix the date of the Elective Annual General Meeting before the end of December, it has been pushed back.

As per IOC instructions, the NOCSL now needs to fulfill these three requirements before calling for the election of office bearers.

The NOCSL elections were initially fixed for January 9, but were postponed when the IOC requested further amendments to the constitution last week. The EGA has now been pushed back to January 4, 2018, meaning the elective Annual General Meeting will be delayed further given the constitutional requirement of a 30-day notice.

The unilateral decision to delay the AGM has not gone down too well with certain members of the NOCSL. They demand that it be held in December as agreed previously.

“Please confirm to us the date on which this Extraordinary General Assembly will be convened and please send us a copy of the notice (together with all the documents and information mentioned above which must be circulated to the members). Your immediate action is expected, in order to finalise the entire process by the end of January 2018 at the latest, as per the above mentioned instructions,” they instructed last week. It was reiterated this week in their latest communication to NOCSL Secretary General.

“For the rest, we understand that our last amendments proposals which we have circulated to you on 21 November have been accepted in principle. Consequently, we understand that this final constitution should be adopted without any further difficulties during your NOC Extraordinary General Assembly at the end of December,” the latest IOC communique stated.

A member wrote an email to the Secretary General, “Please note in the absence of the Ex-Co, it is the General Assembly and no other organ of the NOCSL is valid and with consultation from a majority of elected NSF’s we will soon ensure fair play, justice and good governance are established. We will also demand immediate intervention from the OCA or the IOC to resolve the irregularities and malpractices currently taking place.”

Meanwhile, the new Sports Regulations governing the National Sports Associations in the country require audited financial statement to be circulated among the membership but NOCSL is yet to receive their audited accounts, having sent financial statements of the last five years only in August, 2017, to the Auditor General’s Department.

The regulations specify that the President, Secretary and Treasurer of a sports association which has failed or neglected to submit audited financial statements to the Committee and the General Assembly within the stipulated time period of three months after the end of the accounting period, shall be disqualified from holding office.

Transparency and accountability
issues flouted

The Sunday Times analysed the NOCSL’s functioning since November 27, 2013 after the IOC directed NOCSL to run by the incumbent elected office until such time the NOCSL Constitution is amended. There have been numerous instances of transparency and accountability being flouted by those in power.


1.The Minutes of the last General Assembly held in 2012 have not been shared with the members as of date.

2. Annual Reports of the activities of the NOCSL since 2010 have not been shared with the membership.

3. Accounts for the years 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 were sent for audit only in the latter part of 2017; that too, without sharing them with the NOCSL Executive Committee, violating the statutes of the NOCSL. Such delays in accounting also contravene national regulations governing sporting bodies in Sri Lanka.

4. Selection of delegates for congresses, conference and meetings of the IOC, OCA, CGF and the SASF were done without consultation with Office Bearers and/or the Executive Board, as required by the statutes of the NOCSL.

5. A request made by the IOC in a letter dated April 27, 2017, asking for the revamped constitution of the NOCSL be shared with the membership was only complied with on October 8, more than six months after the request was made. This allowed the membership only 10 days till October 28 to make their comments on the same.

The letter in April from the IOC also requested that IOC Guidelines for the formation of an Athletes Commission at the NOCSL be shared with the membership. This was also done in October, more than six months later. In the meantime, the Secretary General formed the Athletes’ Commission without informing the full membership.

6. A valid request as per statutes of the the NOCSL made by a sizeable number of Members of the NOCSL to have the issues mentioned in items 1-4 discussed at the General Assembly held on November 9, 2017, has not been complied with.

7. An agreement reached by the General Assembly to hold an Executive Committee meeting within two weeks of the General Assembly held on 09 November 2017, has not been complied with.

Posted on 2017-12-04 01:22:08
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