Kenyan Olympics faces ban

CityPress - - Sport -

The In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee (IOC) froze fi­nan­cial sup­port to Kenya on Thurs­day after the coun­try’s trou­bled Olympic com­mit­tee re­fused to make changes to its con­sti­tu­tion, a de­ci­sion that could lead to a ban.

The IOC said it would dis­cuss the mat­ter at its ex­ec­u­tive board meet­ing in Pyeongchang, South Korea, next week.

The IOC wants the Kenyans to ap­prove new reg­u­la­tions ad­dress­ing good gover­nance within the Na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee of Kenya (NOCK), which has been deal­ing with prob­lems re­gard­ing dop­ing, mis­man­age­ment and po­lit­i­cal pres­sure. But the NOCK has yet to ap­prove them.

“The IOC is ex­tremely dis­ap­pointed by the out­come of the Na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee [of Kenya] ex­tra­or­di­nary gen­eral as­sem­bly, which did not ad­dress gover­nance is­sues in the ap­pro­pri­ate way,” the IOC said.

“This goes against the tri­par­tite agree­ment [that IOC-NOCK gov­ern­ment author­i­ties] reached in Septem­ber 2016 in Lau­sanne and the road map and dis­cus­sions with the NOCK over the past few months.”

Na­tional Olympic com­mit­tees di­vide up about $1 bil­lion (R13.18 bil­lion) in IOC rev­enue ev­ery four years, which is their share of the mar­ket­ing rev­enue from the Olympics. The IOC also sup­ports thou­sands of ath­letes, coaches and staff through its Olympic Sol­i­dar­ity fund.

Kenya last month ac­cepted a lo­cal high court de­ci­sion over­rul­ing last year’s gov­ern­ment or­der to dis­band the NOCK after ac­cu­sa­tions that it had poorly han­dled ar­range­ments for the 2016 Rio Games. Sports Min­is­ter Has­san Wario had or­dered that the NOCK be dis­banded last Au­gust, say­ing the body had not ar­ranged ad­e­quate ac­com­mo­da­tion and travel ar­range­ments for the Olympic team in Rio, and had also mis­han­dled other is­sues.

De­spite prob­lems in the build-up to Rio, the East African na­tion en­joyed its most suc­cess­ful Olympics, win­ning six gold medals, six sil­vers and one bronze, all in track and field.

“The IOC is now putting on hold all pay­ments of sub­si­dies to the Na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee of Kenya un­til a de­ci­sion by the IOC ex­ec­u­tive board is made at its meet­ing next week,” the IOC said.

A pos­si­ble ban would mean Kenya would not be al­lowed to send a team to the Olympic Games, and its ath­letes would be forced to com­pete in­de­pen­dently.

The coun­try would also not take part in any IOC-sanc­tioned event or meet­ing and would not ben­e­fit from IOC fund­ing in any form, in­clud­ing ath­lete sup­port and train­ing.

NOCK sec­re­tary-gen­eral Fran­cis Kiny­ili Paul said the body’s of­fi­cials were ready to quit “if this is in the in­ter­est of Kenyan sports”.

“Fight­ing all the time doesn’t make sense. We are ready to quit if this will be the so­lu­tion for Kenyan sports prob­lems in gen­eral and the Olympics in par­tic­u­lar,” Paul said on Thurs­day.

An­drew Mudibo, pres­i­dent of the Kenya Ta­ble Ten­nis As­so­ci­a­tion – which is among the af­fil­i­ates op­posed to the NOCK – wel­comed the move by the IOC.

“On be­half of NOCK af­fil­i­ates, we wel­come the move that the IOC has taken and we would like to see the ex­ec­u­tives re­sign from their po­si­tions,” he said.

The IOC sus­pended Kuwait in October 2015, ac­cus­ing the gov­ern­ment of in­ter­fer­ence in its na­tional Olympic com­mit­tee, and its ath­letes com­peted as in­de­pen­dents in Rio.

– Reuters

PHOTO: JEAN CATUFFE / GETTY IMAGES

SUR­VIVOR Vi­vian Cheruiyot won gold at the Rio Olympics

PHOTO: QUINN ROONEY / GETTY IMAGES

STAND­ING TALL Lekuta Rud­isha did well in Rio de­spite the chaos back home

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