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The Executive Board (EB) of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) wrapped up its first meeting of 2011 in Lausanne today, coinciding with the one-year-to-go mark until the first Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria, from 13 to 22 January 2012.
As celebrations commemorating the milestone were taking place in Innsbruck, EB members at the IOC headquarters were busy making decisions on a number of issues ranging from bidding timelines for the 2020 Olympic Games to matters affecting National Olympic Committees (NOCs).
The EB kicked off its two-day meeting by convening with the IOC Athletes’ Commission. Topics on the agenda included the promising development of the IOC Athlete Career Programme – which has so far involved 6,800 athletes from 27 NOCs; the fight against doping; the success of the first Youth Olympic Games last August in Singapore; and the 5th International Athletes’ Forum, which will take place in Colorado Springs (USA) in October. The EB and the athletes’ representatives also exchanged their views on the Entourage Commission, which was recently established based on the recommendation of the 2009 Olympic Congress and met for the first time last month. The Commission is tasked with addressing matters related to managing all aspects of an athlete’s career, which includes those related to coaches, managers, parents and sponsors.
The EB agreed on a timeline for the bidding process for the 2020 Olympic Games that the IOC will distribute to all National Olympic Committees (NOC) later this month. The NOCs have until 1 September to submit the name of an applicant city, and these cities will then be required to submit their application files and guarantee letters to the IOC by 15 February 2012. The election of the Host City of the 2020 Olympic Games will be made on 7 September 2013 during the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Spanish Ambassador and Secretary General of the Union Latine Jose Luis Dicenta Ballester was appointed for a four-year term as a member of the Ethics Commission, replacing Peruvian Ambassador Javier Pérez de Cuéllar.
The EB also discussed several NOC-related issues, including those affecting Netherlands Antilles, Ghana, India and Panama.
Netherlands Antilles: The IOC Executive Board carefully examined the situation of the NOC of the Netherlands Antilles and the athletes of the five islands in the light of the new institutional and constitutional structure that has been effective as from 10 October 2010.
In view of the Olympic Charter and having noted that, as a consequence of the formal dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles on 10 October 2010, this territory no longer legally exists as such, the IOC Executive Board took the following decisions:
1. Propose that the forthcoming IOC Session in Durban (July 2011) withdraw IOC recognition from the Netherlands Antilles NOC (with a number of accompanying measures for the athletes linked to the 2012 Olympic Games in London).
2. Ask for close cooperation from the IFs concerned aimed at (i) safeguarding the interests of the athletes and facilitating a smooth transition in the framework of their competences and competitions and (ii) ensuring the application of the measures for the athletes that will be taken by the IOC vis-à-vis the 2012 Olympic Games.
3. Confirm that, pursuant to the rules of the Olympic Charter currently in force, no new NOC can be recognised for any of the five islands which made up the “Netherlands Antilles” until 10 October 2010.
These decisions were taken in the legal scope of the Olympic Charter, but also with a view to preserving and protecting wherever possible the interests of the athletes of these islands.
Ghana: The IOC has deployed every possible effort in order to help resolve the situation that the NOC of Ghana has been facing for 18 months and find a long-term solution with all parties concerned.
However, the obvious lack of cooperation of the government authorities in Ghana and lack of respect of the Ghana public authorities’ written commitment to take all necessary actions to revise the sports legislation in Ghana before the end of 2010 in a sense that would allow the NOC and the Olympic Movement in Ghana to operate in full autonomy and in accordance with the Olympic Charter have forced the IOC Executive Board to decide to suspend the NOC of Ghana in order to protect the Olympic Movement in Ghana (pursuant to the applicable rules of the Olympic Charter, in particular Rule 28.9), with all consequences provided for in the Olympic Charter.
India: As discussed and agreed during a meeting between the IOC, the NOC of India and representatives of the government of India which took place on 18 June 2010 in Lausanne, it was recalled that:
(i) On the one hand, the NOC will convene a General Assembly to consider and adopt the new NOC Draft Constitution that was revised together with the IOC in line with the Olympic Charter and with a view to improving the governance of the NOC; and
(ii) On the other hand, the government of India must fully respect the autonomy of the NOC and the Olympic Movement in India in accordance with the Olympic Charter.
After careful analysis of the situation, the IOC Executive Board noted that a number of points have still to be resolved. Consequently, if the situation does not evolve positively, the IOC Executive Board will consider taking appropriate measures and actions which might seriously affect the representation and participation of India at the Olympic Games and forthcoming international sports events.
Panama: The latest developments in the situation of the NOC were reported to the IOC Executive Board. The IOC Executive Board took note with great satisfaction of the recent decision rendered by the justice authorities in Panama to legally reinstate the NOC and the legitimate office bearers recognised by the IOC. The IOC Executive Board will continue to closely monitor this case until the implementation of this decision.