The Gambia Golf Association (GGA) has reacted to a "strongly worded ultimatum" from the National Sports Council (NSC), its co-protagonist, and host Fajara Club, which asked them to resolve their long raging difference before November 30, or remedial measures would be applied that would see the seizure of the sport in the country.
Reacting to the ultimatum, the GGA says the National Sports Council has "erred" because it is definitely not empowered by the Act to deregister the GGA or any other National Sports Association [NSA]. "Furthermore, and for obvious reasons, the ACT does not empower the NSC to ban any sport throughout the country in all areas," it added.
In a letter dated 15th November sent to both bodies, the NSC said it would de-register the Golf Association and golf as a national sport would not be played in the country, "these remedial measures will be applied following the protracted difference and the two sides' failure to solve the differences".
The GGA added that Section 18 (1) of the National Sports Council Act 2000 which deals with sanctioning National Sports Associations (NSAs) states that the penalties include the suspension, banning or expulsion of all or any of its officers from holding office in any association registered under the Act and that nowhere in the act does it state that the NSC has the power to deregister a NSA.
If the decision is taken by the end of this month, The Gambia will be the second country in the history of golf to ban the sport. The first and only time a country took the decision to ban golf was way back in 1457, when King James II of Scotland felt it was distracting young men from archery practice. This ban was repeated by succeeding monarchs until James IV threw in the towel and in 1502 became a golfer himself.
Having received the threat from the Sports Council, The Gambia Golf Association Committee wasted little time in sitting over the issue and met on Friday 16 November 2012 at the Green Mamba Restaurant. According to its own dispatch sent to Observer Sports Desk, the GGA says they have always acted in accordance with its constitution, the National Sports Policy 2010-2019, the National Sports Council Act 2000, the letter and spirit of the Olympic Movement and The R&A Rules of Golf and that no higher authority has ever accused the GGA of abusing and/or superseding its powers as the National Governing Body for Golf.
They added that since inception, the GGA was managing its relationship with Fajara Club, until February 2012, when the executive secretary of the NSC [Mamudou Max Jallow] personally went to Fajara Club, assuring them that a resolution passed by the GGA suspending golf handicaps was overturned by the NSC. "This singular action instantly undermined the authority of GGA and Fajara Club thus emboldened, henceforth refused to recognise GGA as the Governing Body for Golf in The Gambia."
The GGA resolution concluded by assuring that they will continue to operate as a bonafide, duly registered body of the NSC, affiliated to the Gambia National Olympic Committee, The R&A and the International Golf Federation while it will also monitor the enforcement of the suspension of golf throughout the country in all areas by the NSC.