A merger between the Korean Council of Sport (KOCOA) and the Korean Olympic Committee (KOC) has been approved and is set to be completed by the end of the month.
The combining of these two organizations has been on the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) plate for a while, but a meeting held late last week formalized the amalgamation. The thought is that by combining the KOC, which oversees elite sport, and the KOCOSA, which is geared toward the promotion of a healthy lifestyle within the general population, the resulting sole governing body would better be able to administer sport across both the elite and grassroots levels.
The IOC said in a statement regarding the merger, “All parties came to the conclusion that the merger of the KOC and KOCOSA will have a very positive impact, and that is a major and historic step for the development of the Olympic Movement and sport in general in Korea.”
The new organization will be called the Korean Sport and Olympic Committee and is set to officially launch on March 27th. Thus far, Kim Jung-haeng, the KOC President, and Kang Young-joong, the KOCOSA head, have been appointed as co-leaders of the new body. (Korea Herald)
Relating this Korean organizational development specifically to swimming, we should find out shortly how the fusing of the two sports bodies impacts Korean Olympian Park Tae Hwan. Park is in the midst of serving an 18-month suspension due to having failed a doping test, however, the suspension is due to be lifted this month, just in time for the Korean Olympic Trials in April.
The caveat that may impede Park’s putting his suspension in the past, however, is the fact that there is still the subjective domestic rule which would, in theory, tack on an additional 3-year suspension for any national athlete to being at the end of the FINA-mandated disciplinary period.
Last year, a Korean Olympic Official was quoted as stating, “The KOC’s competition and disciplinary committees will discuss the rule before the organization’s board of directors makes a decision on it, a process that normally takes about three months.”
With the reorganization, will this decision take longer? Shorter? Will the ultimate deciding body be more lenient? Time will tell and we will report as soon as any announcements are made.