IOC Advises GOC to hold elections after Olympic Games due to potential implications


The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has advised National Olympic Committees (NOC) including the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) to hold their elections after the Tokyo Games.

In a letter dated April 23, 2020 to all Presidents and Secretary Generals signed by James Macleod, Director of NOC Relations and Olympic Solidarity, he said:

Following the rescheduling of the Olympic Games, Tokyo 2020, which will now take place from 23 July to 8 August, 2021, we understand that, among the many implications of this postponement, the election cycle of your NOC may be affected, since most NOCs usually hold their regular elections during the year following the Games of the Olympiad.

The circular letter aims to provide guidance to the impacted NOCs (ie those NOCs whose quadrennial elections are (or /were) due to take place between August 2020 and August 2021 in order to best address the issue at their respective levels.

Pursuant to the Olympic Charter, the election cycle of the NOCs is not expressly linked to the holding of the Olympic Games. The only requirement is that the term of office of the elected officers of an NOC must not exceed four years, as stated under paragraph 1.5 of the Bye-law to Rule 27 and 28 of the Olympic Charter, which reads: “The officers and members of the executive body of an NOC shall be elected in accordance with the NOC’s status for a term of office not exceeding four years: they may be eligible for re-election.”

Under these extraordinary circumstances, where the cycle of the specific edition of the Olympic Games and the four year term of office no longer coincide, we understand that most of the impacted NOCs will love to decide – subject to what is explicitly specified in their respective statutes, as approved by the IOC – whether to:

1. Follow the four – year term of office and hold their elections by the end of the four year term of office, ie prior to the Tokyo Games in 2021 or

2. Follow the Olympic Games cycle and hold their elections after the Olympic Games now taking place in 2021 which would automatically involve an extension of the current term of the elected officers. In this case, and considering that the main priority is to enable the NOCs to best prepare their respective teams for the Olympic Games, the IOC, on an exceptional basis, consents to an extension of the initial term of office beyond four years, as decided by the impacted NOC’s. If the decision to postpone the elections and extent the current term requires an interpretation of or a derogation to the NOC statutes, such decision should be confirmed as early as possible after the Tokyo Games in 2021 and the election cycle should be returned to normal after the Olympic Games in 2024.

The IOC’s NOC Relations Institutional and Governance Service team, led by Jardine Povey will be fully at your disposal to address your concerns, examine the specific situation of your NOC and help find appropriate solutions on a case-by-case basis. Please inform them directly if your NOC is impacted by this situation and if so, of the solution that your NOC is considering.

We sincerely hope that this flexible approach will help you take appropriate decisions, in the best interest of your NOC and ensure the best preparation possible for your teams and athletes for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Thank you once again for your understanding and much appreciated collaboration during these challenging times.

Yours sincerely


Director of NOC Relations and Olympic Solidarity

Copy: ANOC, EOC, Panam Sports, ANOCA, OCA, CNOC

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