The Ministry of Youth and Sports has written to the Gambia National Olympic Committee expressing concern about the body’s conduct in dealing with queries raised by some of its members over the decision to delay their elective congress.
In April 2020, the GNOC received a circular from the International Olympic Committee recommending that NOCs such as The Gambia whose congress falls in 2020 the year of the games, could have an option to defer it until after the games, with the consent of their members.
However, the GNOC did not act on this until months later when some of its members demanded elections be held. The GNOC argued that that it could not act on the IOC circular because it arrived at a time when there was a ban on public and sports activities at the height of the Covid-19 crisis including even the National Sports Council itself banning all sports activities.
The GNOC said it has sent a circular to all its members with the majority of them agreeing to delay the elections until after the games which has now been postponed to this summer.
However a number of sports associations going by the name National Sports Associations, among them Combined Security Forces led by Lamin King Colley opposed the move alleging that even that process of consulting members was flawed because some associations were not properly represented in the resolutions and that the GNOC failed to hold an AGM since 2018. The opposing members petitioned the GNOC to the National Sports Council which together with a Technical Committee tried unsuccessfully to bring the two sides to meet over the issue, with the GNOC accusing the NSC of interference.
Now though, the Ministry of Sports have weighed into the matter with a strongly worded letter to the GNOC on the matter.
In the letter, MoYS said it has agreed with the NSC and the Technical Committee that there were flaws in the process to delay the elections.
The Ministry further stated that the GNOC should comply with the recommendation of the NSC as the body responsible for regulating sports to hold a congress. The Ministry said it has also taken note of the fact that the majority of the stakeholders had a meeting where the majority agreed to convene a congress. MoYS further noted with concern the delay and refusal of the GNOC to reply to letters from the NSC concerning the issue.
“Based on the above, the ministry hereby request that you adhere to the recommendation of the National Sport Council NSC in the interest of the country sport development,” concluded a letter signed by Musa Mbye representing the Permanent Secretary at MoYS.
However when contacted on the letter from MoYS, the GNOC president Dodou Capi Joof said his committee has taken all the right steps, example securing the consent of 14 Olympic sports associations all of whom have agreed that elections be held after the Olympic Games, and not later than November 2021 and that position has been endorsed by the IOC.” This is our position; we would hold elections after the Olympic games. I cannot understand how only 6 non –olympic sports associations can constitute a majority and change the decision of 14 Olympic sports associations. The NSC cannot interfere to tell us to do what is against the Olympic charter,” Mr Joof stressed.