Freshly installed Afghanistan National Olympic Committee (A-NOC) head Fahim Hashimy has hailed the significance of an agreement with Afghan President Hamid Karzai which should ensure the financial independence of the governing body.
Hashimy, a 33-year-old businessman who owns the fastest-growing television channel in the country, 1TV, was unanimously elected to replace Mohammed Zaher Aghbar as A-NOC chief last month, with reform and independence key aspects of his appeal.
This led to restrictions on autonomy, a key concern particularly because of the recent rhetoric by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ensure all governing bodies are fully independent.
But following the meeting, A-NOC is now officially classified as an independent Non-Governmental Organisation which will still receive some state funding, but by dealing with the Ministry of Finance and the President's Office rather than the Sports Directory.
"This is a great step which makes us much more comfortable," Hashimy told insidethegames.
This marks a key breakthrough for Hashimy, particularly as it comes only a month after he assumed control.
Hashimy has also already met figures from both the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and the IOC, when attending an Olympic Solidarity and OCA Regional Forum in Bahrain last month, after which he insisted he shares their "objectives, ideas and goals".
A-NOC is receiving some funding from both organisations, but is also hoping to receive investment from new areas, including Olympic Solidarity Funding.
This will allow the country to improve in a sporting sense and build upon the two Olympic medals won by the country so far, both bronzes secured by taekwondo athlete Rohullah Nikpai at Beijing 2008 and London 2012.
Afghanistan are also competing at various major sporting events later this year, including the Incheon 2014 Asian Games from September 19 until August 4, where Hashimy hopes a squad of 70 athletes will compete across a range of sports.
This should include the two team sports of football and cricket.
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