By Duncan Mackay

The Gambian Government have been told to allow the Gambian National Olympic Committee full access to their headquarters ©GNOCFull access to the Gambia National Olympic Committee (GNOC) headquarters must be restored immediately by the Government or the country faces the threat of being suspended, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has warned.

The crisis meeting between the GNOC and the Gambian Government was held at the IOC's headquarters in Lausanne following revelations earlier this month that staff from the GNOC had been denied access to its offices in Bakau. 

The move came despite an earlier assurance from the Gambian Government that they would not interfere in the running of the GNOC. 

They had also ignored requests from the IOC to allow GNOC staff entry into the headquarters. 

The meeting, chaired by the IOC's autonomy tsar Patrick Hickey, also warned that a travel ban on GNOC staff must also be lifted.

"As part of the consultative process which should take place between the Government, the GNOC and the National Federations to revise the sports legislation in the country, the IOC has offered its assistance, to help the Government and the responsible entities to ensure that the new Sports Bill, which is currently being drafted, is fully compatible with the basic principles which govern the Olympic Movement," the IOC said in a statement following the meeting.

The IOC also said that they were seeking a "commitment to build harmonious relations and fruitful cooperation between the Government and the Olympic Movement in The Gambia, which should work as partners, in the framework of their respective responsibilities, to develop sport and the athletes in the country as a common objective."

The issue is set to be discussed at the next meeting of the IOC's ruling Executive Board, due to be held in Lausanne between October 22 and 24, where "appropriate decisions will be taken depending on the progress made".

That is a clear signal that The Gambia will be suspended unless the IOC are satisfied their demands are being met. 

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