IOC and IPC defend Sam Ramsamy‚ tell Sascoc board to put aside personal interests
The Olympic and Paralympic mother bodies have repeated their support for Sam Ramsamy in a letter calling on his critics to put aside personal interests‚ use common sense and respect democratic principles.
The missive was effectively directed at the five disgruntled SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) board members who know they’re likely to be voted out at the elections next weekend‚ as well as the parliamentary sport portfolio committee that roasted Ramsamy on Tuesday.
Ramsamy was appointed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to facilitate the elections after a deepening rift between the Sascoc Five and the majority of sports bodies that make up the umbrella body.
Since realising they were out of favour with the Sascoc general assembly‚ the Sascoc Five lined up Ramsamy in their sights‚ accusing him of bias and claiming that the Sascoc election would not be free and fair.
The parliamentary committee sided with the Sascoc Five when interviewing Ramsamy on Tuesday‚ agreeing that the Sascoc vote would be tainted.
The IOC and IPC rode to the defence of the veteran sports administrator.
“As we also understand that the role of Mr Sam Ramsamy is being unfairly called into question‚ we would like to reiterate our full support for his hard work to help Sascoc move forward and ensure free and fair elections‚ and recall that his appointment by the IOC president‚ with the support of the IPC‚ was welcomed by everyone.”
They reiterated that Ramsamy was appointed because Sascoc was unable to solve its own disputes at that point.
“It goes without saying that Mr Ramsamy’s efforts‚ like the support provided by the IOC and IPC‚ have no other intentions but to resolve the ongoing situation in good faith‚ in the sole interest of Sascoc‚ as an institution‚ and sport and the athletes in South Africa‚” the IOC and IPC wrote in the letter dated October 28.
This is the second letter written by the IOC and IPC in less than two weeks‚ having warned the board to halt legal action against the general assembly and ensure the November 7 election went ahead or face “further measures”.
“We trust that common sense and respect for the democratic principles which govern the Olympic and Paralympic Movement will now prevail‚ and we urge everyone to act responsibly and in good faith to ensure that the Sascoc elections take place smoothly ... as planned‚ so as to normalise the situation and — regardless of who is elected — open a new chapter‚ which will enable Sascoc to fully focus on its mission and on supporting the athletes.”
The IOC and IPC also referred to the letter sent to them by Sascoc’s acting vice-president Aleck Skhosana in response to their first missive‚ calling it “extremely surprising and confusing to say the least”.
“It may be worth recalling that Sascoc is not the property of any individuals but essentially emanates from its member federations‚ which constitute its general assembly and supreme decision-making body‚ as expressly stated in the Sascoc constitution.
“Therefore‚ it is once again expected that the general interest should prevail over personal interests‚ and that everyone should respect the collective decisions taken by the general assembly merely to implement a logical process and roadmap to which no objection had been raised initially.”
The Sascoc Five raised specific objections to the way the general assembly was handled only days afterwards and not during the meeting.
They complained that the vote to reinstate suspended acting president Barry Hendricks and drop disciplinary action against him had not been placed on the agenda and therefore was unconstitutional‚ but Ramsamy and many national federations have disagreed with this view.