A merger is set to take place between the Korean Olympic Committee and the Sports Council ©KOC

A merger between the Korean Olympic Committee (KOC) and the Korean Council of Sport for all is set to go ahead following a meeting between both parties and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) today in Lausanne.

This follows the announcement of a planned merger betweeen the two earlier this year, aiming to create one body to administer over sport at both an elite and at a grassroots level.

The amalgamated body, which is expected to be called the Korean Sport and Olympic Committee, is expected to come into operation on March 27.

Concerns have been raised, however, that the merger could threaten the independence of the KOC from the Government.

According to the South Korean Sports Ministry, the IOC sent a letter to the KOC last week suggesting the two bodies postpone the move, preferably until after August's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Today's meeting appeared to be far more harmonious, with an IOC statement circulated afterwards claiming it was "very positive and productive".

It is hoped the merger will inspire more youngsters to follow in the footsteps of London 2012 flagbearer Yoon Kyung Shin ©Getty Images
It is hoped the merger will inspire more youngsters to follow in the footsteps of London 2012 flagbearer Yoon Kyung Shin ©Getty Images

"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 IOC statement added.

"The parties also agreed that the merger will be undertaken in accordance with the rules of the Olympic Charter.

"All parties therefore agreed on the principle of the merger and on the procedure and timeframe for the process.

"In particular, it was agreed that the new statutes of the merged organisation will be finalised with, and approved by, the IOC before they are adopted by the General Assembly of the merged organisation."

As well as the IOC, the meeting was attended by representatives from the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF).

The timing is particularly poignant, just two years before South Korea hosts the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Pyeongchang.

Ensuring autonomy for sporting bodies is a key priority for the IOC, with Kuwait having been suspended from the IOC in October for this reason amid similar disputes in other countries ranging from Mexico to India.

"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," the statement concluded.