African Olympic Chief Rebuffed
LONDON (AP) _ Jean-Claude Ganga, the senior African IOC member fighting expulsion in the Salt Lake City scandal, has been rebuffed in his bid to garner African support for his cause.
African Olympic officials said today that Ganga had failed to mobilize a quorum for a meeting of the leadership of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA).
Ganga, the president of ANOCA, had called an emergency meeting of the organization’s executive committee for next Tuesday in Gabon.
But a senior member of the committee, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press that at least seven _ and possibly nine _ members of the 13-man board were refusing to attend.
With Ganga lacking a quorum of at least seven members, the meeting is now expected to be canceled.
Among those declining to attend were ANOCA secretary general Tomas Sithole of Zimbabwe, vice presidents Major Gen. Francis Nyangweso (Uganda), Gen. Zoumaro Gnofame (Togo) and Sladdine Baly (Tunisia), and treasurer Ismail Bhamjie (Botswana).
The lack of support from fellow Africans is a major setback for Ganga, who is one of five International Olympic Committee members facing permanent expulsion at a special general assembly in Switzerland on March 17-18.
Four other IOC members have already resigned over allegations of ethical misconduct stemming from Salt Lake City’s successful bid for the 2002 Winter Games.
Ganga, of the Republic of Congo, is accused of receiving more than $250,000 in cash and inducements for himself and his family from Salt Lake officials.
He has vehemently denied any wrongdoing and vowed to fight his case at the March session, where a two-thirds vote of the assembly is required for expulsion.
Ganga, who led the African boycott of the 1976 Montreal Olympics, is portraying his case as part of a wider campaign against Africa. Of the 24 IOC members implicated in the Salt Lake scandal, 12 are Africans.
In a letter to African Olympic officials, Ganga suggested that African members were being punished for their role in opposing apartheid in South Africa.
``One thing stands out in this whole process,″ said the Feb. 15 letter, a copy of which was obtained by the AP. ``By excluding 12 Africans ... the intention is to `behead’ African clout within the leading decision making body of world sport. I have the feeling that we are being held to pay for all the struggles waged against racial discrimination in sport.″
The IOC contested Ganga’s allegations in a letter sent this week to all African IOC members and African national Olympic Committees.
The letter stressed that the IOC was in the forefront of the fight against apartheid, was the first organization to expel South Africa from world sport, and was the first to set up a committee to smooth the way for the nation’s return to the Olympics in Barcelona in 1992.
``As a consequence, the (expulsion) decisions taken by the IOC executive board cannot be seen as an action taken against the African continent,″ the letter said.