Sascoc to change name to incorporate ‘Paralympic’

Sascoc has been unstable as an organisation over the past decade.
Sascoc has been unstable as an organisation over the past decade.
Image: Wessel Oosthuizen/Gallo Images

The SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) is set to change its name to appease the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

The issue is that the name Sascoc (The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee) doesn’t include the word Paralympic‚ but this is expected to be rectified at Sascoc’s special general meeting (SGM) on Saturday.

The IPC and International Olympic Committee (IOC) have examined Sascoc’s draft constitution after it was updated following recommendations by the Zulman committee of inquiry into Sascoc’s corporate governance failures in 2018.

The two mother bodies proposed 19 amendments in all‚ some of which will dilute the power of the Sascoc board.

In one case they want Sascoc’s general assembly‚ instead of the board‚ to appoint the judicial body‚ which has been a thorny issue amid the suspension of acting president Barry Hendricks.

And they want Sascoc’s punitive powers over defaulting federations to include only the withholding of Sascoc funds‚ and not money due to them from government or Lotto.

One recommendation relates to incorporating the name Paralympic into the Sascoc name.

“As per the IPC requirements‚ the constitutional name should also include ‘Paralympic’‚” the IOC’s head of institutional relations and governance‚ Jérôme Poivey‚ wrote in a communique to Sascoc last month.

“This is a clear IPC obligation‚ as per articles 2.2.1 and 2.2.10 of the rights and obligations of IPC members‚ within the IPC handbook‚ which helps protect the brand nationally while reflecting Sascoc’s dual role as an NOC [National Olympic Committee] and NPC [National Paralympic Committee].”

Article 2.2.1 states: “Every NPC IPC member shall have the obligation to include the word ‘Paralympic’ in their constitutional name and title.”

Article 2.2.10 focuses on protecting the IPC’s intellectual property rights.

According to one source‚ failure to incorporate the name could see SA being booted out the Paralympic Games.

Sascoc was formed in late 2004 as a merger of different bodies representing the Olympics‚ Commonwealth Games‚ Paralympics and the government-funded Sports Commission‚ which was responsible for the All Africa Games.

It is understood that Sascoc dodged the name issue previously by creating a body called the National Paralympic Committee of SA‚ but the IPC took exception after it realised it was a postbox and not a functioning organisation.

The name change could see Sascoc become the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic and Paralympic Committee‚ but it remains to be seen if the acronym will stay as it is or be changed to something like SASCOPC.

Apart from adopting constitutional amendments‚ the central focus of the agenda for Saturday’s meeting is arranging the overdue ballot‚ which was delayed from March 28 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Specific issues to be discussed include the suspension of Hendricks and the activities of the Sascoc board in the past months‚ some of which angered many federations.

Hendricks is undergoing a disciplinary hearing arranged by Sascoc’s judicial body‚ but it is understood that some officials want the action against him scrapped in the light of the fact that he was cleared in an arbitration a couple of months ago.

Delegates at the SGM will also need to agree to staging the election on a virtual basis and debate reopening the candidate’s list for new names to join those who are already on the ballot.

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