IOC PRESIDENT ENDORSES UNIFICATION OF SPORT IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
Lausanne, 28 February 2001 - The President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is due to attend the constituent Assembly of the unified National Olympic Committee of Bosnia and Herzegovina (NOC BIH) at the end of March. The members of the leading sports organisations in BIH will meet for the first time after the agreement reached on 22 February 2001 between the current NOC - created during the war period - and the representatives of the State Presidency, under the umbrella of the IOC and the Office of the High Representative (OHR), the institution established by the international community to oversee and co-ordinate the implementation of the peace agreement in BIH.
The NOC BIH Transitional General Assembly will bring together 67 representatives from 20 Olympic sports federations, including sports leaders and athletes from the whole territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The creation of this body fully respects the Dayton peace agreements signed in 1995, and is a vital step in the reunification of sports in BIH at all levels.
The agreement reached last Thursday in Sarajevo is the fruit of the work of the Sports Conference led by the IOC since 1999, with plenary sessions in Lausanne (28 July), Banja Luka (22 October) and the Bosnian capital (23 October 1999), and that of a permanent team (with sessions on 17 October 2000, 9 December 2000 and 21-23 February 2001) under the co-ordination of the IOC NOC Relations Department. The first success of this process was the participation of 19 athletes and officials in a joint team at the Sydney Olympic Games.
The transitional assembly called for the end of March will adopt the new NOC BIH statutes - drafted and agreed by all parties during the negotiations - and will formally endorse the creation of a Task Force which will monitor the reconstruction of all national sports federations. The Task Force, composed of independent local lawyers, will actively assist the BIH sports federations in the process of their evolution in order that they fully represent and cover the entire territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This process will clear the way for BIH athletes and teams to take part in international competitions.
The reconstruction process is expected to last one year. After this time, the renewed BIH sports federations will hold elections to name their representatives at the NOC General Assembly.
For more background information, read the following news items on the IOC site
Zetra inauguration ceremony. Samaranch meets BIH Presidency (28.05.99)
Bosnia and Herzegovina to Send Common Team to Sydney Games (28.07.99)
Progress made on building a common team for BiH (04.11.99)
Agreement finalised for BiH Olympic Team (07.02.2000)
Related Story: Olympic Truce / IOC delegation visits Sarajevo in 1994