The dispute between the African Union and African Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) over the ownership of the All-African Games is a step closer to being resolved.
This follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Sporting Council of AU and ANOCA in Cairo, Egypt last month.
Last year’s All-Africa Games, held in Brazzaville, Congo, were organised by the Sporting Council of the AU rather than ANOCA after the collapse of talks between the two parties over a possible agreement for joint organisation.
This meant that, the continent’s biggest multi-sport event, the equivalent of African Olympic Games, did not serve as a qualification event for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games held in Rio de Janeiro, which prompted lack of interest among the athletes.
And now a provisional agreement signed between ANOCA, the African Union Commission (AU) and the Association of African Sports Confederation (ASSC), has been hailed as an important step towards addressing these tensions.
The agreement on African Games will be implemented after a validation by the AU commission and shall take effect once it is approved by the AU Commission Chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, according to a statement.
Both parties are expected to mobilise renowned African athletes and the best teams to help promote their level of performance.
Sources from AU say the Union will continue to manage the Africa Games while the African Union Sports Confederations will take care of the technical coordination of the games.
The agreement is expected to improve competitiveness, generate income and market the African Games.
According to the agreement, “AU will keep ownership of the games, while ANOCA will organise, manage and run them. And ASSC will be entrusted with the technical coordination.”
Meanwhile, the games will be known as the “African” rather than the “All-Africa” Games and the agreement is expected to last 12 years spanning three editions of the games and can be revised in 12 months.
The three parties also adopted a schedule of meetings in a bid to evaluate and plan ahead of major continental sports events.
The other key objectives include “improving the quality and raising the level of competitiveness of the all African Games and participating athletes, increasing revenues and adopting concerted sponsorship and marketing strategies for the Games.”
The other priority is ensuring the event includes qualifying tournaments for the Olympics and other international competitions.
Furthermore, the Cairo agreement seeks to foster harmony and synergy of actions with the African Sports Movement, ensuring that the African Games attract Africa’s crème de la crème of athletes and promote unity and cooperation on the continent.
Besides, the parties undertook to work together to ensure that renowned African athletes and best teams in various disciplines on schedule participate in the African Games.
In a statement, ANOCA president Lassana Palenfo said, “The first important thing about this agreement is that it clarifies the roles of each of our respective institutions and I am delighted to be one of the signatories.”
At the moment, no host has yet been named for the next African Games, scheduled to take place in 2019, but an official announcement is expected in December this year.
Countries that are possible contenders include: Kenya, Zambia, Ghana and Equatorial Guinea.
Egypt topped the 2015 medal table after securing 78 gold medals at the 16-day-event in Republic of Congo capital of Brazzaville.