GNOC suspends Track & Field Association
Thursday, December 11th 2014, 4:37 PM ChST
Guam - After being suspended unofficially for over a year, the Guam National Olympic Committee board made it official Thursday suspending the Guam Track and Field Association for violating their bylaws. According to GNOC president Ric Blas one of the most egregious violations was GTFA president Jay Antonio allegedly allowing an ineligible athlete to participate in a Olympic qualifier in 2013.
"It is for those reasons that we suspended them but again knowing that if we suspended them I would have to notify the international federation the possibility of them also being sanctioned by the IAAF and I didn't want that I did suspend but I held back on the enforcement of that in hopes that I could get them back," Blas said.
However GTFA is adamant that the athlete is a resident of Guam only attending school in Honolulu. According to GTFA for over a year they have been seeking resolution but allege they've been blacklisted from meetings and not given the chance to defend themselves before the GNOC board. Antonio said, "We made the attempt we made several phone calls we emailed many times since this whole issue started and we rarely got any response and when we did get response there was a lot of things and the first time we were called in he gave us fifteen minutes and not to talk to him but basically for Ric Blas to tell us you know the issues he was having with us and so we weren't able to ask anything and when we did he said he only had fifteen minutes and that is it."
So what will it take to lift the suspension? According to Blas the federation would need to choose between their athletes and their leadership meaning they would need to reorganize their board. "When a leadership compromises the Olympic principals of GNOC in respect to residency they got to go you know I have no confidence in them they are not protecting the local athletes that qualify under the residency rule to go to the games," he said.
Antonio says however that's not possible as it would break the federation's bylaws and prevent them from being in good standing with the IAAF which is the governing body for track and field. Antonio says they informed GNOC that a re-election could not take place but did not receive a response, saying, "And that's the problem we are having there is no communication we asked you know I mean it's like we are begging to communicate with them and it just doesn't happen and when it does happen it is under the radar we can't record it and then it's just Ric Blas," he said.
According to Blas the suspension of GTFA was taken along with seven other federations and while five have since come into compliance two remain suspended and after meeting with the GNOC board he is now mandated to enforce the suspension of GTFA. This evening the GNOC board is scheduled to meet and according to Blas will entertain GTFA.