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Sport Must be free from political interference, says Lakhan

Pacific Games Council president Vidya Lakhan has reiterated his call on Governments of the region to understand the roles of sporting organisations within their individual countries.

“Sports must be free of political interference,” said Lakhan while addressing the Sports Ministers Meeting in Port Vila, Vanuatu.

“What our political leaders need to understand and more importantly remember at all times is that ‘sport is self regulating and self governing.’

He said that in recent times National Sports Federations have been suspended or expelled from international sports organisations thus denying athletes the right to participate in competitions such as the Olympic, the Commonwealth Games and world championships.

“Closer to home, in the past month we have had the membership of one of our Olympic Committees suspended from the Oceania National Olympic Committee. The reason for the suspension was political interference in the Governance and operations of the NOC.”

The suspension of Russia this week from competing at next year’s Winter Olympics in South Korea is another glaring example.

Tahiti’s non-appearance at the 10th Pacific Mini Games in Port Vila is another case in point.

The PGC president says that sports bodies are required and mandated in heir constitutions to work with and indeed partner with their respective Governments in the development of sports.

“The rules and regulations we enact for ourselves must not in any way, be in conflict with the laws of our respective countries.

“The role of the Government should be to ensure that their National Sports Federations be it the Pacific Games Association or the National Olympic Committee, practice good governance and is transparent and accountable for all its actions including the expenditure of funds.

“Failure to do so should result in withdrawl of all government support to the offending federation.

“All the sports in our countries do not belong to us or our respective governments. They belong to their respective federations by virtue of the affiliation of our national federations to these international federations we have their sports played in our countries.

Lakhan concluded by saying that national federations become the custodians of their sports in their respective countries.

Story by ONOC