By Isaack Omulo
NAIROBI (Reuters) – Kenya’s national Olympic committee has escaped the threat of suspension after failing to adopt a new constitution but funding will continue to be withheld until further notice, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Saturday.
The IOC froze financial support to Kenya nine days ago, after the country’s troubled national committee (NOCK) failed to adopt a revised constitution, and said it would discuss the matter at its executive board (EB) meeting in Pyeongchang this week, leading to speculation that it might ban the country.
However, IOC Deputy Director General Pere Miro said a Kenyan undertaking to bring in the new constitution at a meeting later this month meant the IOC had stayed the threat of further action.
“The IOC EB noted, with disappointment, that your NOC failed to adopt its revised constitution at its meeting on 7 March 2017,” Miro said in a letter to NOCK President Kipchoge Keino.
“However, the IOC EB welcomed the recent positive developments, as mentioned in your letter dated 14 March 2017, in particular the firm commitment from your NOC to rectify the situation and the resolution signed by the members of your NOC Executive Committee to support the adoption of this revised constitution at its next Extraordinary General Assembly already reconvened by your NOC on 28 March 2017.
“In view of this significant progress, no further action will be taken at this stage by the IOC. Nevertheless, the IOC EB has confirmed that all payments of subsidies to your NOC continue to be on hold until further notice,” said the letter.
“The IOC will continue to monitor closely the completion of the entire process — including the adoption of the revised NOC constitution, as a first step, and the holding of your NOC Elective General Assembly, as a second step – in accordance with the road map established in September 2016,” the letter said.
The IOC wants the body to adopt a new constitution barring incumbent officials from casting their vote during general assemblies, which some have been accused of using to prolong their own terms in office.
Kenya last month accepted a local high court decision
overruling last year’s government order to disband its Olympic
committee 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 for the Olympic team in Rio and had 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.
(Editing by Clare Fallon)