No breach of Olympic Charter, says JOA

No breach of Olympic Charter, says JOA

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

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The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) has said grants made to the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), which was acting in the interest of two clubs with members of Jamaica's Olympic football team, were not in breach of the Olympic Charter.

The JOA also categorically reinforced that it did not disburse funding to any of the clubs, Cavalier Soccer Club and Harbour View Football Club.

In furtherance, the JOA said it has provided funding to athletes under the Olympic Solidarity Programme, whose requests have been furnished by their sporting body.

The fact that the JFF made the approach on behalf of the clubs and got grant funding, the JOA said, may have contributed to a belief they had contravened the Olympic Charter.

It was the basis of a report on national television this past weekend that referenced correspondence between the JOA and the JFF in 2018 and 2019.

Commenting on the matter in a press release, the JOA said: “All funds in relation to the requests made were disbursed to the JFF, and none of the two clubs received any payment from the JOA.”

It added: “It is certainly not uncommon for the JOA, through requests made by member federations or associations, to give support to their athletes who belong to clubs. It is also not uncommon for the JOA to accommodate requests for assistance made by athletes of clubs, which requests are made through their national federations. Many athletes have made requests of the JOA for funding under the Olympic Solidarity Programme, and have reverted to and received the support and approval of their federation in accessing the scholarships.”

In outlining the process, the JOA detailed guidelines pertaining to grant funding in the related matter and how it was treated.

“The Olympic Charter, under the Olympic Solidarity Programme, articulates, as one of its primary objectives, the provision of funding to assist NOCs in the preparation of their (federation's) athletes and for participation in the Olympic Games,” the JOA said.

It was also established that players who stood to benefit were members of Jamaica's Olympic football team.

The release continued: “In relation to the Cavalier Soccer Club, the request for funding was made by its member, the JFF, in respect of five athletes in the Olympic squad who were members of the Cavalier Soccer Club, which was scheduled to participate in an international tournament.

“The JFF, in its communication with the JOA, stated that:

“The unprecedented and valuable international exposure which would be afforded the Olympic squad footballers would better prepare them for selection for the national team”; and the assistance of the JOA was being sought by the JFF for the “development of our [JFF's] players for their representation of Jamaica” and accordingly, the JFF expresses its appreciation of the JOA's “continued support of the national programme”.

“The Olympic Charter and the principles of Olympism also state clearly that athletes with talent must have an equal chance of reaching the Olympic Games and succeeding in the Olympic arena and that every athlete should be given a chance to succeed. It is in this spirit of Olympism and consistent with the Olympic Charter that the JOA accommodated the request made by the JFF in relation to one of JFF's constituents whose footballers were a part of the Olympic squad and therefore preparing for the Olympic Games,” the JOA said.

Addressing the Harbour View FC issue, Clyde Jureidini, general manager of Harbour View Football Club, stated that he “approached the JOA for funding to assist the club's youth team in participating in an overseas international tournament, but was redirected immediately to the JFF”, the governing body for football.

“Mr Jureidini then dealt with the JFF, which evaluated the club's request and determined that it was fitting to support youth development. The JFF consequently expressed to the JOA its full endorsement and consequently requested the support of the JOA. The JOA, in furtherance of the principles of Olympism and its policy of supporting the matriculation of young talent to the international stage, granted the request of the JFF.

“It is factual that four of the footballers for whom the JFF sought assistance were selected for the Olympic team which participated in the qualifiers for the Tokyo Olympic Games, and two represented Jamaica at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru,” the release noted.

“This absolutely justifies JOA's investment in athletes who have talent and aspire to the Olympic stage, and certainly exemplifies the spirit of Olympism and the Olympic Charter”.

“The JOA continues to be grateful to member associations, countless stakeholders and members from a wide cross section of the public who have either contacted us to express, or otherwise voiced their rejection of the statements and innuendos of the report and who have unreservedly expressed their confidence in the integrity and professionalism of the JOA, as well as its commitment in providing opportunities for talent in sport to aspire and transition to the Olympic stage.

“The JOA will not be daunted by ignorance or indiscretion and is emboldened as it pursues its mission to provide equal opportunity for all sports and athletes,” the release concluded.

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