The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and its member FIFA - the world governing body for football, have asked Sri Lanka to reverse its decision to hold elections under controversial provisions of the Sports Law in order to ensure autonomy and jurisdiction of national sports associations. Failure to do so would leave Sri Lanka at risk of international status, they have warned.
“This unilateral action goes against the principles and rules of the Olympic Movement and our previous agreements,” writes Patrick J. Hickey, IOC Delegate Member for Autonomy, in a letter addressed to Minister of Sports Navin Dissanayake on April 7.
“We would like to remind you that all FIFA members are obliged to manage their internal affairs independently, as stipulated in articles 13 and 17 of the FIFA Statues.The unilateral promulgation of new regulations by the ministry goes against this obligation and is putting the FFSL at risk of being sanctioned, which is usually the case in the event of government interference,” Jerome Valcke, Secretary General, FIFA writes separately to Ranjith Rodrigo, President Football Federation of Sri Lanka.
The letters come in the wake of a Sports Ministry decision to hold elections under controversial provisions of the Sports Law and the subsequent regulations made on January 15, 2013.
“Consequently, it is not acceptable and it is our duty to warn you that the international sports institutions concerned will not be able to recognize the results of elections orchestrated unilaterally by your ministry. In addition, should this happen, the international sports institutions concerned would be compelled to consider appropriate protective measures (including suspension, which unfortunately would considerably damage the representation of your country at international sports events,” states the IOC letter, which is jointly signed by President of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and President, Association of Summer Olympic International Federations.
The IOC demands revisions of the Sports Law and regulations in consultation with the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka and national federations to ensure full compatibility with the principles which governs the Olympic Movement. It wants this done before May 31 and also calls for the cessation of any pressure on national federations to hold their elections under the current Sports Law as well as regulations to avoid any further action.
“However, if the the situation is not rectified immediately, the case will have to be reported to the IOC Executive Board and to each International Federations concerned for further action including suspension,” the IOC warns.
A recent opinion by the Attorney General’s department on appointment of members to National Sports Associations sparked a lengthy debate in sporting circles as experts believe the Sports Regulations No.1 of 2013 cannot be implemented retrospectively.
The Attorney General’s department held that the regulations gazetted in January 15, 2013 could be implemented ‘prior and consequence’ meaning that those who have held office for four or more years in key positions of President, Secretary, Treasurer, Vice-President, Assistant Secretary, Assistant Treasurer cannot seek re-election.
The new amendments restricted the term of office bearers to two years and a further term subject to the approval of the Sports Minister and also laid down various conditions on their qualification to hold such office.
It also bars the Minister of permitting more than two terms for any one as it clearly says, “...provided that, the period during which a person serves in any one of the said positions, shall not in the aggregate exceeds four years.”
“As you have certainly been informed, we have repeatedly requested over the last few years that the Sports Law and the regulations in Sri Lanka be reviewed in a constructive manner in order to make them fully compatible with the basic principles of the Olympic Movement, including the principle of autonomy.
“We understand that some progress has been made to produce a revised draft; however, the process has not been finalized within the deadlines established initially with your predecessor. With your recent appointment, we were therefore expecting that appropriate action would be taken to complete this process as soon as possible. Surprisingly, we were informed recently that, instead of finalizing this first step, you decided to move forward unilaterally by instructing the national sports federation to hold their elections under the current sports regulations.” the IOC’s letter to the Minister adds. (Champika Fernando)
Minister Navin Dissanayake replies:
Your caption saying that the sports ministry has been given a ' red letter' notice is misleading as the letter sent by the IOC and other sports organization does not indicate any suspension procedures to be initiated. I, as the Sports Minister, am bound to carry out the law of the land (which was in place before I assumed office) and have never interfered in the decision making or administrative aspects of sports bodies as my letter to the international sports bodies clearly explains.
Comments - 13
Sammy Monday, 13 April 2015 09:27 AM
The IOC, FIFA, ICC may have their corruption and other problems but there is transparency and the guilty get punished. In Sri Lanka, all mischief gets pushed under the carpet and successive politicians make a muddle of sports bodies. Even the BCCI which you refer to has been now subject to legal scrutiny and corrective action in many areas has been taken.
BuffaloaCitizen Monday, 13 April 2015 09:48 AM
Yes, their have been corruption issue in India, however those have been investigated and specific persons have been removed and some even banned from holding office. That is why those bodies have no grouse with India. SL is different. It is now known that SLC paid food bills for food served at Temple trees. That is corruption from the very top.
Krisnan Sunday, 12 April 2015 09:02 PM
He is not matured enough to deals with sport as well as tourism. Now it looks like even foreign tourist arrival end up around 1.75 million against 2 million target. However, spend lot of public funds for their foreign travel
hiran gunawardena Sunday, 12 April 2015 09:03 PM
Look like Navin trying to get in his henchans to sports. By the time he given marching orders in next election he will ale sure to ruin all sports via DM Android App
SL Sunday, 12 April 2015 09:43 PM
The yahapalana bunch is doing everything according to "international standards", yet they get scold back at them.
dilip Sunday, 12 April 2015 11:34 PM
There are warnings from ICC,and now from FIFA. Whats going on ,are you people trying to change all the rules the UNP way. What you people do with your politics is a different matter,but respect international rules for sports, Other wise we will be only playing North vs the South.
saman Tuesday, 14 April 2015 03:00 AM
Never heard this kind of misconduct under MR rule.Is this Yahapalanaya?Happoy mage rata finish.
Public Monday, 13 April 2015 05:38 AM
We had no such warnings under MR. Goes to show what yahapalayana really is.
Bokku kata Monday, 13 April 2015 07:05 AM
Bala Monday, 13 April 2015 07:40 AM
FIFA is a den of thieves. How many of their International Ex-Co were successfuly prosecuted for bribe taking. As regards ICC, they will go against the smaller countries - will they ever take this stand aganst India where the BCCI - independent ha ha - is plagued with corruption and intrigue.Those with clean hands only should throw stones at others.
Oldie Monday, 13 April 2015 07:41 AM
All decisions they took resulted in putting the country in a mess and end up in chaos as in 2002. via DM Android App
Jan Monday, 13 April 2015 08:55 AM
AS USUAL, POLITICAL INTERFERENCE FROM INEXPERIENCED IMMATURE POLITICIANS!
chux Monday, 13 April 2015 09:02 AM
This bloody mafia of sports authorities should chased hon minister all the people are with you
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