Tuesday, April 15, 2014

IOC to Yaya Jammeh: Return 'Olympic House' to owners, reinstate officials or face sanctions

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) came down like a ton of bricks on Yaya Jammeh's Minister of Youth and Sports, Alieu K. Jammeh.

In a strongly-worded letter to the dictatorial regime of Yaya Jammeh, the IOC made the following requests of the Minister:

1.  The Office and all properties of the GNOC must be returned to the IOC-recognized GNOC currently headed by Mr. Momodou Dibba with immediate effect.
2.  Any potential restrictions imposed by the IOC-recognized GNOC and its officers must be lifted with immediate effect and;
3.  The Government of the Gambia shall cease any action aimed at destabilizing the IOC-recognized GNOC.

Protective measures or sanctions will be applied against the representation of The Gambia, including barring it from participation in future Olympics, if the above conditions remain unmet, as provided under Rule 27.9 of the Olympic Charter.

IOC did not mince words. The so-called "Interim Committee" installed last week by the regime is not recognized by the Olympic Movement.  As explained on numerous occasions to Gambian officials, including the Minister of Youth and Sports, the National Olympics Committees world-wide ( including the GNOC) "are not government bodies installed or dismissed, and their members are not appointed by governments."

GNOC is an autonomous body "established to develop, promote and protect the Olympic Movement.  The word "Olympic" is a registered trade mark for the exclusive use of IOC-recognized entities, thus, its use by a government-selected and appointed is illegal as well.  Officials should know better and not allow themselves to be used by this despicable and discredited regime, unless, of course, they are in it for their own personal and selfish interests.

IOC reminded the Minister that their illegal and undignified behavior to unleash tribal militias to seize Olympic House, close the offices and take possession of properties belonging to the GNOC has already started to negatively affect Gambian athletes who have been prevented from participating in sporting events abroad as a result of this ill-advised action of the Minister of Youth and Sports.

IOC hopes that reason will prevail for the highest interest of sport and the Gambian athletes.  These shenanigans have been too frequent in the administration of sports in the Gambia which should cease.  Jammeh should be told so by those doing the bidding for him that sport and its administration should neither be politicized nor personalized. Enough is enough.