By Nick Butler

The Gambia National Olympic Committee have been re-opened after it was seized earlier this year by the Government ©GNOCOlympic House, headquarters of the Gambia National Olympic Committee (GNOC), has finally been reopened after a four-month feud with the Government.

In April, they were barred from the House in Bakau after it was seized by police on instruction from the Government, due to their belief that the GNOC elections were not conducted properly

This led to them effectively grinding to a halt and Gambian athletes being unable to participate at the African Youth Games, held in Gaborone in May.

This action was strongly rejected by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as unacceptable interference, and a letter was sent to The Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh, by IOC chief Thomas Bach calling for the situation to be resolved.

But, during last month's IOC Executive Board Meeting in Lausanne, a report documenting "positive updates" was heard, with it being "expected that the headquarters will be given back to the NOC in the coming days following a clear commitment by the Government".

It has now been announced that the situation has been resolved, with the Gambian National Sports Council (NSC) executive director Marcel Mendy revealing they had held "a series of meetings with concerned stakeholders with a view to reach a peaceful end to their long-standing disputes".

"The National Sports Council wishes to bring to the notice of the general public that following the closure of the Gambia National Olympic Committee's office some four months ago, as a result of internal differences and wrangles within the GNOC, a series of meetings were held with the concerned stakeholders with a view to reaching a peaceful end to their long-standing disputes," he said.

"Considering the difficulties that the athletes and secretariat staff of the GNOC have been going through during this period, the NSC is pleased to announce that a breakthrough has been reached to reopen Olympic House to all essential staff and the general public.

"In the meantime, the NSC will continue to explore all avenues to work with all concerned stakeholders in order to bring about a final and an amicable end to all internal differences at the GNOC.

"As the leadership of the country continues to safeguard, protect and promote the general welfare of the youth, particularly the athletes in this case, the NSC therefore solicits the cooperation and support of all in its quest to regularise and develop Gambian sports."

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