IOC Reviews Korean Olympic Merger

(ATR) Korean sports leaders are told the merger must comply with the Olympic Charter.

South Korea's flagbearer Yoon Kyung Shin leads his delegation during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games in the Olympic Stadium in London on July 27, 2012.     AFP PHOTO / OLIVIER MORIN        (Photo credit should read OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/GettyImages)
South Korea's flagbearer Yoon Kyung Shin leads his delegation during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games in the Olympic Stadium in London on July 27, 2012. AFP PHOTO / OLIVIER MORIN (Photo credit should read OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/GettyImages)

(ATR) The IOC says a proposed merger of the Korean Olympic Committee with the Korea Council of Sport for All must comply with the Olympic Charter.

Leaders of the Korean sports bodies as well as representatives from the government and the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations met at IOC headquarters in Lausanne March 4 to go over the proposed merger.

The merger has provoked some controversy in Korea over whether the government will have undue control over the affairs of the KOC. The initial proposal for the merger gave the government the power to review the finances of the KOC as well as the power to select KOC leadership in certain cases.

Officials with the KOC are concerned that some of the provisions will encounter resistance from the IOC for breaching the autonomy that the Olympic Charter requires between government and national Olympic committee.

The Korean government maintains that as the primary source of funding for the KOC, it has an obligation to make sure money is spent properly and that the organization is managed effectively.

"During the meeting, which was very positive and productive, all parties came to the conclusion that the merger of the KOC and KOCOSA will have a very positive impact, and that is a major and historic step for the development of the Olympic Movement and sport in general in Korea. The parties also agreed that the merger will be undertaken in accordance with the rules of the Olympic Charter," says a statement issued by the IOC.

Taking part in the meeting was IOC deputy director general Pere Miro, KOC President Jung Haeng Kim, KCSA President Young Joong Kang, Vice Minister for Sports Jhong Kim and Yang Uk Ahn, Chairman of Merge Preparation Committee.

The IOC statement says that the timetable set in Korea for the merger can proceed while it reviews the proposed new bylaws for compliance with the Olympic Charter. That clears the way for a meeting in Seoul on March 7 to lay the foundation for the merger, followed by a March 27 meeting which will be the first for the combined sports bodies.

The IOC is expected to provide its feedback on the new bylaws by the time of the March 27 meeting.

"All parties will continue to work closely together with mutual understanding and in a constructive manner to reach this objective by the agreed deadline, for the benefit of the Olympic Movement in Korea," says the IOC statement.

Originally the IOC had requested that the Korean merger be put on hold until after the Rio Olympics. But the Ministry of Culture Tourism and Sport has insisted on following its timetable for the merger.

A merger between the KOC and the government operated Korean Sports Council has been in the works for years. While KOC officials have been wary of the move as a threat to their group’s independence, merger proponents say it will create a more efficient structure to handle sport from the grass roots to elite level.

Written by Ed Hula.