Swimming - SSA executive committee asked to step down due to non-compliance |20 April 2021
Swimming being a sport that has brought good results in the past, it is therefore very important for all involved parties to share the same goal and vision in maintaining the sport’s status and also come up with ways and means to steer it further.
It is in that view that the present Seychelles Swimming Association (SSA) executive committee has been asked to step down since it has been assessed that it will not be able to take Seychelles’ swimming further in view of the various grievances, along with non-compliances with the Registrar of Associations.
The decision was taken following a meeting between the Minister for Youth, Sports and Family Affairs Marie-Celine Zialor and the SSA on Tuesday April 6 at the Maison Football, Roche Caïman where the minister listened to the views of all parties concerned.
It was then decided that the present executive committee would not be able to take swimming further in view of the various grievances and non-compliances with the Registrar of Associations.
Also present at the meeting were the chief executive of the National Sports Council (NSC) Jean Larue, president of the Seychelles Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association (Socga) Antonio Gopal, director for watersports within the NSC Alain Alcindor, deputy registrar general Fred Hoareau, club representatives, coaches, parents and swimmers.
Following a lengthy debate, Minister Zialor concluded that the best option in order to move forward would be for the present SSA executive committee to step aside and call a special general meeting (SGM) where members will have the opportunity to vote for a new committee that can unify the swimming fraternity.
The meeting was initiated to:
a) firstly bring together all interested parties to discuss the way forward for swimming development in Seychelles since there were various disagreements and discontentment among some members of the association, and
b) secondly discuss the SSA’s non-compliance with the Registrar of Associations.
Minister Zialor noted that her ministry is responsible for the country’s sports policy and that the NSC is regulated under the NSC Act, which all federations and associations must respect.
As part of her mandate, she will be meeting with all sports federations and associations since NSC will be implementing a new structure and sports will be categorised.
Since swimming is a sport that has brought results in the past, it was important to identify all the issues to see how they can be resolved so that the sport can move forward.
She noted that failure to agree on this proposal will leave the ministry and NSC with no other option but to allow the Office of the Registrar to proceed with striking off the SSA from the Registry of Associations.
To that proposal, current SSA chairman David Vidot responded in agreement to have the present SSA executive committee step aside for the benefit of swimming and to hold an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) within a month of sending the official notice and documentations to all members.
The chairman also confirmed that they would be able to send the notice and documentations by the end of this week.
The chosen date for the EGM is Saturday May 8.
Still during the meeting, deputy registrar general Fred Hoareau informed all present on the role and responsibility of the Registrar of Associations’ office and on the status of SSA with regard to non-compliance.
He confirmed that the SSA’s file is now with the Attorney General and is awaiting further action, while this could even escalate to the SSA being struck off the registry of associations.
He made reference to a letter, dated September 30, 2019, addressed to the SSA’s executive committee and in which there is a list of all the articles breached by the committee under the SSA constitution.
In that same letter, the Registrar of Associations requested the executive committee to provide certified copies of minutes of their general meetings and audited accounts which had not been filed.
They also requested that the SSA considers holding the SGM being requested by its members, with the content of the letter be communicated to all members of SSA.
The letter stated that from the inspections carried out, it was concluded that the SSA is not in compliance with the Registration of Associations Act 1959 (hereinafter referred to as the ROA).
“From the above we have identified a number of issues which raise serious concerns in relation to the compliance of the SSA with the Registration of Associations and as a consequence the legality of the SSA as a registered association under the same Act,” it stated.
Section 5 of the ROA provides that the rules of every association seeking registration under schedule B, and shall, on the association being registered, become the rules of the registered association.
While Section 11 of the ROA also provides that the rules for the time being of any registered association shall bind the association and every member thereof and any person claiming through such member to the same extent as if such member or person has subscribed his name thereto...
Among the irregularities highlighted in the letter were mostly various cases of breach of the SSA constitution, included failure to provide minutes of meeting on several occasions.
Members were also not advised for the agreement to change the association’s logo which is also not in line with the constitution.
It is also stated that the refusal to host a special general meeting (EGM) is equally a breach of the constitution, precisely Article 19.2.
Furthermore, the refusal to give access to the members’ list to the Aquafins and Mahe Skimmers clubs is also another breach, specifically of article 9.2.
In line with that, the withholding of information which would have allowed members to convene an EGM by the SSA office bearers is a breach of article 19.5 of the association’s constitution.
As recommendations, preventing further actions, the Office of the Registrar General has advised the SSA to meet with all its members to address all the issues as to satisfy the registrar in regards to all the addressed issues and to also ensure that the association is and remains in good legal standing.
Fresh in the chair, Minister Zialor, herself a former athlete and coach, has promised to bring more efficiency and through better structuring in the running of local sports, a better way forward.
Everyone involved is now eager to see a new beginning and a brighter future for the country’s sport.