Monday, April 28, 2014
Youth Minister backs down in face of sanctions threat
The decision of the Ministry of Youth and Sports to supplant the IOC-recognized GNOC with a hand-picked selected (HPS) "Interim Committee" was not viewed kindly by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as a result of which they made three demands of the Jammeh regime.
The IOC demanded of the Minister of Youth and Sports for the military to immediately vacate the offices and return all properties of the IOC-recognized GNOC headed by Mr. Momodou Dibba. IOC demanded that any restriction imposed by the regime on the IOC-recognized GNOC be lifted immediately; and the Government of the Gambia must cease any action aimed at destabilizing the IOC-recognized GNOC.
The IOC warned the regime in its letter dated 14th April 2014 that protective measures or sanctions will be applied if the regime fails to accede to the demands of the Olympic Movement.
The letter may have had the desired effect because there appears to have been a miraculous coming of the senses of those trying to politicize the selection process. According to sources close to the problem, "most members of the 'renegade 5' (Interim Committee) have cross-carpeted, and bowed down to to their (sports club) membership and joined the majority." As rightly observed by a source, "inviting the IOC to come to Banjul to help solve the crisis that no longer exists" is a pure waste of time of the Minister as well as the IOC.
In what appears to be a face-saving move, the Ministry of Youth and Sports will be inviting someone in the IOC to come to Banjul to resolve what has now become a non-issue. The military occupation of Olympic House is over, the Offices have been returned to their rightful owners, and, it appears for now, at least, any action aimed at destabilizing the IOC-recognized GNOC like the "Interim Committee" has been nullified.
The Ministry of Youth and Sports should ensure that it refrains from further attempts at politicizing the GNOC, GFF or any other sporting body. One would have thought that the message has sipped through some thick skulls in Banjul that the International Sporting authorities will never tolerate the use of sports or athletes to advance the political ambition of politicians or their cronies.
Rather than waste the valuable time of the IOC in order to cover the failed partisan moves of the very few of the sporting fraternity, the Minister should focus his attention on making sure GNOC and all other sporting bodies are free of politics. His primary concern is to help develop the individual potentials of the Gambian youth through sports.