IOC spares Nock further action, financial freeze upheld

Steeplechase star, Ezekiel Kemboi receives Long Distance Athlete of the Year trophy from Nock chairman ...
Steeplechase star, Ezekiel Kemboi receives Long Distance Athlete of the Year trophy from Nock chairman Dr. Kipchoge Keino during the 2015 AK annual awards gala held at Safari Park hotel in Nairobi, Kenya on December 10, 2015. Photo/Stafford Ondego/

Embattled National Olympics Committee-Kenya (NOCK) officials can breathe a sigh of relief after the International Olympics Committee Executive Board announced on Friday it will take no further action at this stage following their initial refusal to adopt a new constitution.

The international body will however, uphold the financial freeze it slapped on Nock last week according to a letter signed by the IOC Deputy Director General/ NOC Relations Director, Pere Miro and addressed to Nock President, Dr. Kipchoge Keino.

“The IOC EB noted, with disappointment, that your NOC failed to adopt its revised Constitution at its meeting on 7 March 2017.

“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 re-convened by your NOC on 28 March 2017,” the letter read.

The IOC reiterated its position that the reform process started in the aftermath of the Rio 2016 Olympics scandal must be completed as per the road map agreed upon by the international body, the Government and Nock affiliates.

“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.

“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 roadmap established in September 2016,” the letter copied to IOC President, Thomas Bach, Anoca President, Lassana Palenfo, IOC Member in Kenya, Paul Tergat and the Ministry of Sports, Arts and Culture among others added.

-Nock future-

Speaking to Citizen Digital, Nock Secretary General Francis Kinyili Paul welcomed the development stating that the future of the local body lies with those who will be elected in the first elections after the adoption of the new constitution following the March 28 Extra Ordinary meeting.

“It is true, I was called yesterday (Thursday) and told the Executive Board have discussed they would take no further action against us. They noted we had assured them we will adopt the new constitution and we are set for that,” Paul said.

The initial reluctance by most of the incumbent Nock Executive to support the constitution stemmed from the fact it bars them from voting during elective assemblies besides imposing a two-term limit.

With the Nock Executive facing stiff opposition, the conclusion of the reform process potentially seals their fate with Paul admitting the new leaders face the difficult task of restoring credibility at the organisation.

“Those who will come in will decide the future of Nock. The new constitution makes it a two-term affair and they will have to draw a strategic plan,” the long-serving official who replaced the late Tom Omwombo in 2007 added.

Paul emphasised the IOC financial freeze had not crippled operations at their secretariat in Nairobi nor stalled their  projects including the construction of their new headquarters on the land the former Olympic House stood in the Upper Hill area of Nairobi.

“We don’t get money to keep. If we want to do something, that is when we ask them to send. What will be affected will be things like the coaching programmes we have, not everything. The IOC never gives us money to keep,” the Secretary General claimed.

On Tuesday, Paul wrote to Nock affiliates informing them the Executive had agreed to back the new constitution after 11 out of 13 members voted against it at the March 7 Extraordinary meeting.

-Additional reporting by Mutwiri Mutuota

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