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Saturday, October 16, 2021

IOC seeks meeting with Gambia Gov’t

In April, The Gambia National Olympic Committee (GNOC) was barred from its headquarters at Olympic House in Bakau after it was seized by police on instruction from the Government. This action was strongly rejected by the IOC as unacceptable interference.

But during a second day of executive board meetings here (Switzerland) today, a report documenting “positive updates” was heard, with it being “expected that the headquarters will be given back to the NOC in the coming days following a clear commitment by the Government of The Gambia”.

The Government has now accepted, in principle, a meeting with the IOC and GNOC representatives here in Lausanne to discuss a way to “establish a fruitful cooperation and relationship in the future, based on mutual respect”. 

But the IOC will continue to monitor the situation “very closely” as plans for the meeting take shape.  The Gambia is the latest country to receive the attention of the IOC as it strives to eradicate any government interference in NOCs around the world.

It was also announced today that the Pakistan Olympic Association will not be suspended after similar tension with the Government, although, like with The Gambia, they have been warned that the situation is being monitored.

The Government of The Gambia, which announced a surprise withdrawal from the Commonwealth last October meaning the country will no longer compete at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, has also vowed to take a closer role in regulating all other National Sports Associations in recent weeks. 

This was precipitated by the national football team being banned from all Confederation of African Football competitions for two years after it deliberately fielded overage players at a qualifier for Africa’s under-20 championship.           

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