LAUSANNE: The Association of National Olympic Committees has taken the unusual step of issuing a vote of confidence in preparations for the Rio Games in August writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The run-up to any major sporting event always features all manner of advance concerns about the staging and the general policy of the Olympic bodies in the past has been to present a show of confident unity to the outside world.

No-one has suggested that the Rio Games were in any sense of danger, whatever the multi-layered crises assailing the Brazilian government and its economy and the knock-on effects in terms of construction.

However, after a gathering of the ANOC executive council, president Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah said: “[This was] a highly productive meeting. With just four months to go until Rio 2016, our NOCs are working hard to prepare their athletes for the Games.

“We fully support the IOC president [Thomas BAch] and the Rio 2016 Organising Committee and have no doubt that they will deliver a fantastic event where NOCs, athletes and fans will enjoy world-class competitions and a carnival atmosphere.”

As well as discussing Rio 2016, the council received progress reports from commissions and working groups including update on plans for a code of ethics and compliance policy. Formal proposals will be presented to the ANOC General Assembly in Doha later this year.

UNESCO partnership

The council also heard that UNESCO has established an official partnership (consultative status) with ANOC “to build on the solid foundation of work between the two organisations.”

Senior vice-president Patrick Hickey was unanimously approved as the ANOC representative on the IOC executive board.

Sheikh Ahmad added: “At ANOC we will continue to work hard over the coming months to develop proposals and initiatives which will improve the support we provide our NOCs.

“During this difficult time for the international sports movement, it is vital that we continue to work together to promote good governance, ethics and the autonomy of sport in order to ensure a more transparent and sustainable future.”

The ‘difficulties’ include te stand-off between international sport and Sheikh Ahmad’s own Kuwait over its new sports law which is deemed to represent political interference by both the IOC and world football federation FIFA and has led to the state’s suspensions.