The National Olympic Committee is to be renamed Sri Lanka Olympic Committee and reorganized in accordance with International Olympic Committee recommendations, said its secretary Maxwell de Silva. The intention is to rectify the clash between the local sports constitution and the IOC regulations.
Talks have been ongoing since 2000, but the process has been delayed due to various problems. De Silva said Sri Lanka should portray itself internationally as a country giving special place to sports and ensuring transparency in sports. This transformation is common to around 50 to 60 countries whose sports constitutions are not on par with the IOC requirements, according to him.
De Silva said the sports constitution needed to be amended, and a possible delay would make them prioritize obtaining approval from sports associations to rename the NOC as the SLOC.
There are clauses that should be amended, including 31 and 32 that allow the sports minister to ban any sports association without any notice. Such matters affect the standard of the games, but instead of discussing them, the minister and the sports associations engage in tugs-of-war to aggravate the situation.
The last time the NOC had an election of office-bearers was in 2009. Steps were taken to hold an election in 2013, but it is getting put off due to problems in the sports constitution. NOC chairman Hemasiri Fernando said the election would be held before the end of this year. Fernando said he would not contest again, and stressed that the path of the NOC has been made clear by the construction of Olympic House and the development and financial strength of sports associations due to the stability brought about under his leadership. The NOC should have officials who are capable of carrying on with that progress, he said.
A general meeting will take place on November 09 at Olympic House to discuss the NOC constitution, its election and renaming, he said. However, the NOC secretary has received a letter signed by officials of 11 sports associations opposing this meeting. The letter raises various issues, including the failure to audit NOC accounts between 2012 and 2016 and to hold an AGM or an executive committee meeting after 2013.These associations also call for the plan for the new constitution. What is significant here is that the financial reports are requested by chairman of the financial committee Rohan Fernando. It is surprising that he is unaware of the accounts and financial reports of the NOC.
Secretary de Silva denies having any issue with regard to auditing and says auditing has taken place in the past few years. He adds the NOC faces no financial problem either.
We cannot remain internationally isolated economically, politically or in sports for that matter. As a democracy, Sri Lanka is bound by global conventions and agreements and should act with transparency. However, what is of concern is that personal enmities are gaining the upper hand at every opportunity. Collective decisions are called for. The right to question is not challenged. The issues surrounding the NOC will come out in various forms and we too, would keep a close watch on the developments.