The Czech Olympic Committee today announced that its elections, scheduled for 26 February, have been postponed due to an interim court injunction obtained by two members of the NOC. The Czech Olympic Committee has confirmed that will appeal against the injunction as it is entitled to do, and will do so within the given appeal deadline.
It is the third time the elections have been postponed with the first two postponements caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Jiří Kejval, President of the Czech Olympic Committee said:
“It is frustrating. This was already our third attempt. If it wasn’t for COVID-19, it would have been resolved long ago. It is difficult for anyone to accuse us of not doing our best to hold the elections, despite the current crisis. The elections are important so that the Czech NOC can move on and focus on preparations for two Olympic Games within six months of each other.”
The two members of the Czech NOC who asked for the court-imposed interim injunction did so because the NOC Statutes do not allow for them to be put among the candidates for election to the Executive Board. As they are members of sports organisations that are part of the Czech NOC group (ČKSOI), which unites non-Olympic sport and other sport organisations, the NOC Statutes state that they can only be elected to the Executive Board via the ČKSOI elections. The ČKSOI elections, which elect one vice-president and two members to sit on the Czech NOC Executive Board, already took place last year. In these elections, one of the individuals in question did not stand for any position and the other was not elected by his peers.
The Czech Olympic Committee notes with interest that the NOC Statutes that are being challenged were amended in 2013 when the individuals leading the challenge were sitting on the Czech NOC Legislation Council that approved them.
Due to the current COVID-19 situation – after two attempts to hold elections during a plenary session – the Czech NOC decided to use “parliamentary” election format outside of the Czech NOC Plenum. This was criticized by the Presidential candidate Filip Neusser, who stands against current President Jiří Kejval, and challenged in court by the Czech Union of Sport, but the petition was rejected.
The validity of this election format, the election rules and procedural code was also approved by an out of meeting vote in which 70 out of 79 NOC members voted in favour, and only 4 members of the plenum voted against. Nevertheless, the elections had to be postponed due to the court-imposed interim injunction.