Gambia: Sports Minister Dismisses GNOC Dissolution Rumour

The minister of Youth and Sports, Alieu K. Jammeh has dismissed rumours that his Ministry has decided to implement the recommendations of the National Sports Tribunal report by dissolving the Executive of the Gambia National Olympic Committee (GNOC).

Despite the minister telling this paper in an interview during the London Olympics that his Ministry has decided to recognise the autonomy of the GNOC, it was rumoured in town late Tuesday evening that the Sports Ministry has decided to dissolve the Executive Committee of the GNOC as recommended by a Tribunal Report following the fallout from the 2009 elections.

According to multiple sources that spoke to Observer Sports on the matter, the Ministry of Youth and Sports has already lined up several candidates to form an interim committee to be headed by veteran educationist Alpha Khan. The sources also added that the proprietor of West Coast Radio, Peter Gomez will also be a member though the names of the remaining members were not given. But when contacted by Observer Sports, Minister Jammeh described the rumours as baseless.

He reiterated that they have agreed on a six-point roadmap to resolve the GNOC dispute and that as far as he and his Ministry are concerned, they are going strictly on that. "These rumours are baseless and it is definitely not coming from us because as far as we [the Ministry of Youth and Sports] are concerned, we have a six-point roadmap agreed upon to resolve the GNOC issue and we are strictly going by that. What do we gain in dissolving the GNOC?" the minister queried, while adding that they have other issues which the dissolution of the National Olympic Committee is not part of that.

Minister Jammeh recalled that while in London during the Summer Olympics, he had requested from the International Olympic Committee to organise a workshop in Banjul between the government, the NOC and the National Sports Associations in a bid to understand the responsibilities of each other and to understand how the Olympic Charter is governed.

He added: "I have this agreement with the IOC while in London and the NOC knows about that we will organise a workshop with this key stakeholders in government, the NOC and the National Sports Associations so that we will get to understand the responsibilities of each other and also to understand how the Olympic Charter is being governed in conformity with the national laws. So why would I jeopardise all that, I have no intention to disrupt that and we are going to honour that.

"This is not going to be limited to only Gambia and the IOC will invite other countries to come here and attend that workshop because we have realised that this problem is not only affecting The Gambia but other countries because of the lack of clarity on functions and why would I want to disrupt all of this and jeopardise it, I am not going to do that," he concluded.

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