Sri Lanka Sends SOS for international help
Feb 23, 2014

Sri Lanka has sent an SOS to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), requesting for an international official to help the country with the Sports Law reforms, Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage told “Daily Mirror” yesterday.

“We appealed to the IOC to send down one of their officials immediately to Sri Lanka to help us with drafting new sports laws as required by them. We decided that this was the best course of action to break the present impasse between the Sports Ministry and the National Olympic Committee” Minister said.

Ministry had sent the letter to the IOC on Monday and has not received a response yet.

Minister said that they had no choice than seeking international help after local Olympic officials had been acting uncooperatively without working together quickly to resolve the issues that have put Sri Lanka under the threat of an imminent international suspension.

“After the meeting we had in Lausanne, IOC instructed us to get the NOC, Ministry and National Sports Association together to formulate the new sports law changes. We were going ahead full steam, but NOC officials were pulling us back with their attitude. Anyway, IOC promised that they would help us at time we required them, so we felt that getting down a representative from the IOC to oversee the process of drafting new changes to sports law was ideal as all parties can naturally agree to the views of a neutral official” alleged the minister.

On November 27 last year, International Olympic Committee met in Lausanne with a delegation of the Government of Sri Lanka, headed by the Sports Minister; the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka (NOC); and senior representatives of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) and the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA).

An IOC media release later stated that all parties agreed that “The sports law (in force since 1973) will be revised within nine months, and the specific government regulations derived from the sports law will be reviewed within six months in order to make them compatible with the basic principles which govern the Olympic Movement”.

Accordingly, Sports Minister Aluthgamage immediately appointed a five-member committee headed by Sports Ministry secretary Anura Jayawaickrema and the committee also included two representatives from the NOC to spearhead the revision of sports law.

The committee asked the NOC to submit a paper detailing all the sticking points of the Sri Lanka Sports law that are in conflict with the Olympic Charter. NOC had submitted a working paper pointing out the clauses in question and the committee had begun deliberating the issues.

“We felt that we could agree to around 70 percent of their points and we were ready to go even further and agree to most points when we came to know that NOC had been acting arbitrarily when they prepared the working paper” said the Minister.

The process hit the snag when several national sports associations complained to the minister that the NOC did not consult them in making their proposals as agreed at the Lausanne meeting.

The letter issued by the IOC after the Lausanne meeting clearly stated that the National Sports Associations should be a party to the decision making process during the proposed law changes.

Sports Minister decided not to recognize the working paper submitted by the NOC following the revelation that national sports associations had not been consulted, sending the whole exercise back to the square one.

With almost three months of the given grace period of six months already gone, Sri Lanka were fighting against time to meet the deadline of taking meaningful action.

The IOC also directed Sri Lanka’s all national sports federations to liaise with their respective International Federations to review their constitutions/statutes in accordance with the International Federations’ standards and the principles of the Olympic Movement. However it is not clear if the associations have taken steps to fulfill this.

IOC also directed the NOC to review their constitution to ensure it was also in full compliance with the Olympic charter.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka

comments powered by Disqus