Ministry must abide by Int’l Sporting Rules – Olympic Association to Sport Minister
I write to you on behalf of the Guyana Olympic Association and in relation to several concerns that have been raised by Associations in relation to the Press Release that was released by your Ministry and which was published in the Stabroek News of the 7th December, 2020.
The release purports to among other things state the objectives of your Ministry in relation to sporting activities, organizing and hosting of such activities/competitions, the approval and or no objection for the hosting/organizing of sports events, sanctioning of Clubs or participants and the role of your Ministry in the development of sports and in the working relationship with Sports Federations/ Associations.
The Guyana Olympic Association is comprised of over twenty National Federations/Associations and all of these Federations/Associations are affiliated with their International Federation s. These Int ern ational · Federations are all affiliated to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The IOC is the organizer of the Olympic Games and which games is the pinnacle for which athletes desire to compete and win medals. The IOC recognize all of the affiliated International Federations as being responsible for their sports world- wide and for them to make all their respective ru les with respect to competitions, qualifications to compete at the Olympics and other competitions, disqualifications, constitutions and several other factors.
Guyana competes at the Olympics, Commonwealth Games , Pan Am Games, Central and Caribbean Games, South American Games and the Islamic Games. All of the afore mentioned Games Organizers, except the lslamic-.b ames, recognize the IOC and are guided by the Olympic Charter. The Olympic Charter is the codification of the Fundamental Principles of Olympism, Rules and Bye-Laws adopted by the IOC. One of the three main purposes of the Olympic Charter is as follows-
“In addition, the Olympic Charter defines the main reciprocal rights and obligations of the three main constituents of the Olympic Movement, namely the IOC, the International Federations and the National Olympic Committ es, as well as the Organizing Committees for the Olympic Games, all of which are required to comply with the Olympic Charter”.
Amo ng the Fund ament al Principles of Olympism which are stated in the Olympic Charter as:
(4) The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.
(5) Recognizing that sport occurs within the framework of society, sports organizations within the Olympic Movement shall apply political neutrality. They have the rights and obligations of autonomy, which include freely establishing and controlling the rules of sports, determining the structure and governance of their organizations, enjoying the right of elections free from any outside influence and the responsibility for ensuring that principles of good governance be applied.
(7) Belonging to the Olympic Movement requires compliance with the Olympic Charter and recognition by the IOC.
National Feder at ion s/ Associations are guided by their respective constitutions, rules and bye-laws and do not compel clubs or persons to belong or be affiliated to them. It is voluntary and clubs and persons when they join or become affiliated to a National Federation/Association agree to abide and be bound by the const it ut ions, rules and bye laws. As far as I am aware all clubs and persons who are affiliated or join, are totally aware of their obligation s.
National federations/Associations make rules for the administration of their respective sports and they are for the most guided by the principles of their International Federations. The constitutions of National Federations/Associations are mostly approved by their respective Intern at ional Federation. The constit ut ion of the Guyana Olympic Association has been approved by the IOC. These ru les include the regulations for the running of competitions, qualification, selection etc. If an entity or a group of persons wish to organize an event under the umbrella of a National Federation/Association then they must follow the rules that govern. If they do not then the event will not be approved and as a result consequences may follow and affect that entit y, group of persons and the participants of the event. If anyone is allowed to organize an event in a sport without the approval of the recognized body then chaos will arise. These events may not be run within the recognized rules or safe-guards, there may be gambling, use of prohibited substances, unsafe area of competition, person s who may have been suspended or banned participating, persons may lose their amateur status because of t he prizes etc.
The occurrence of any of the afore-mentioned unfortunate events happening can and most likely cause a lack of respect to the established rules and accords which International
Federations expect from their affiliates. This can result in National Associations in Guyana being reprimanded, suspended, fined or expelled from their International Federations which will result in our athletes being unable to compete at games where that International Federation is involved. If there is a free for all, without established rules, then such a position will not be accepted or condoned by the Guyana Olympic Association and its affiliated members.
I have seen your enthusiasm and work in the short time that you have been appointed Minister and we look forward to forging a concrete partnership with you and your Ministry for the development of sports and our young people. I and all our members wish and are working to establish a program where our athletes can be supported, if not fully, then to a great extent so that their dreams and that of all Guyanese can be realized.
I would suggest that if you wish, we can meet with my executive or with Associations to discuss the way forward so that there may not be any friction to affect the smooth operation of our continued co-operation. If any person or group has a grouse with a National Federation/Association then a look at the circumstances can discern the reason and an appeal can be made within the rules to resolve the matt er. Rules should be respected by persons in sports and I sincere ly hope that this communication would clear up the ambiguities which the statement from your Minist ry has seemed to cause. The autonomy and independence of recognized National Federations/Associations must be recognized and if they should do anything detrimental to their sports or athletes then they should be called to account wit hin the parameters of their constitution or an appeal can be made to their International Federation. I nor the Guyana Olympic Association will not condone or encourage any behavior or conduct that is inimical to the good of sports or our athletes.
Mr. K.A. Juman-Yassin