NOC Election set for 9 January
By Anjana Kaluarachchi
Election and AGM of the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka (NOC) is finally set to be held on January 9 next year, it is nine years since NOC held their last AGM to elect office bearers.
At the General Assembly of the NOC held on Thursday where the new Constitution came for ratification, none of the amendments were sanctioned without further change to the constitution. The Assembly started around 6p.m. and went past 8p.m.
First proposal which was to amend the name of NOCSL to Olympic Committee Sri Lanka was rejected with a majority opposing the decision.
The proposal to give full membership to seven new National Sports Associations (NSA) were rejected with a majority opposing the idea stating that it's against the constitution where it has been discussed and approved at an executive committee meeting.
Only Fencing and Triathlon Associations were given full membership as those two associations had been given approval by the Exco at a previous Exco meeting.
National Associations will be notified about the nominations by the 25th of this month and the nominations for NOC will be closed on 15th December. The new constitution (including amendments) has to be now ratified by the IOC before the election.
The Assembly also passed amendments to limit the terms of the President and General Secretary to two, ruling out the possibility for individuals to hold the position for many years.
At present Hemasiri Fernando and Maxwell de Silva hold the positions of President and General Secretary. Fernando has been at the helm of NOCSL for an uninterrupted 19 years by now since 1998, while de Silva is in his seat since 2009. The NOCSL election was originally scheduled to be held in 2013, but it's now been overdue by four years.
In 1993, Sri Lanka's Parliament set a term-limit of two years for NOC officials, but this was changed in 2005 by the then Minister of Sports Jeevan Kumaratunga, by passing an amendment to the Sports Law.
The Sports Law (Amendment) Act No. 33 of 2005 removed the term limit, allowing an unlimited term in office.
Both IOC and Sports Ministry have set a maximum of two terms for elected members of NSAs. IOC in April wrote to NOCSL to set a reasonable age limit and a term limit to elected office bearers.
"We feel that the issues of (i) adding a reasonable age-limit (e.g. 70 or 75 as initially proposed in your Constitution) and (ii) defining a maximum number of terms for the office-bearers, should be seriously considered and at least, be addressed and discussed openly within your General Assembly for a final decision by the General Assembly," the IOC wrote to the NOCSL, in April this year.
Hemasiri Fernando has openly stated that he won't run again for the presidency even though Maxwell de Silva is in the contest.
Nevertheless it's the executive committee member Rohan Fernando who is the favourite to take over the president's post as he has the majority of support from the membership.
The National Associations who has not conducted their AGM yet, can finish it and take back their voting rights but the NSAs who are fighting a legal battle over the AGM are not eligible for voting.
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