The International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and the government of Iraq this week signed in Kuwait an agreement stipulating the rules and procedures for transparent and fair elections in the National Olympic Committee of Iraq (NOCI).
On 29 July 2008, the same parties agreed on a series of steps including the lifting of the suspension of the NOCI as well as a commitment to hold transparent and fair elections after the Olympic Games in Beijing.
Four Iraqi athletes took part in competitions in Beijing, and this week’s agreement formally paves the way towards the elections in the NOCI. The election process will be overseen by an Election Steering Committee, and all procedures will be based on the Olympic Charter and the Statutes of the NOCI.
The elective General Assembly of the NOCI will take place on 14 March 2009.
“The IOC is pleased to see that clear procedures have been laid out to ensure the smooth running of the Iraqi NOC elections. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with the NOCI and to supporting Iraqi sport in the lead-up to the London Games”, said Pere Miró, IOC Director of NOC Relations, after the meeting.
The IOC helped to re-establish the Iraqi NOC in February 2004, and has provided substantial financial support and other assistance to Iraqi athletes. In May 2008, the government of Iraq sought to disband the independent NOC and replace it with one headed by a government official — a clear violation of the Olympic Charter regarding government interference.
The IOC responded on 4 June by suspending the government-imposed committee. The IOC urged Iraqi officials to resolve the matter and issued an open invitation for a meeting in Lausanne. The meeting took place on 29 July and led to an agreement re-establishing the NOCI and allowing its participation in the Beijing Games.