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PANAMA CITY - Panama's Olympic Committee (COP) is in such disarray over its leadership that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has threatened to withdraw its recognition of the organization, media sources said Tuesday.
In the latest chapter of the ongoing conflict, the IOC urged the COP to reverse its decision to postpone a scheduled general assembly and election, local daily La Prensa said Tuesday.
According to the daily, the problems began after several national sports figures rejected the COP's current board of directors and its head, Miguel Sanchiz, calling his election "irregular."
In a letter Monday, the IOC instructed the COP board of directors to hold elections December 16, as planned.
Sanchiz was to notify all eligible participants in the vote by contacting the country's sports federations to take part in the general assembly.
The IOC warned that if the elections are not held in time, Meliton Sanchez, president of the Electoral Committee and a member of the IOC, would be in charge of organizing a vote, as established in an extraordinary general assembly held last November 30.
The COP, meanwhile, has said it will follow its own statutes to elect a new board of directors for the 2012-2016 period, with the participation of Olympic and non-Olympic federations and organizations, as well as the 15 permanent members.
The IOC letter, signed by director Pere Miro, said "the organization has made significant efforts ... to definitively resolve Panama's Olympic movement for the benefit of the athletes and the development of sports."
If election are not held in keeping with IOC regulations and the decisions taken at the COP's November 30 meeting, "that would certainly cause the withdrawal of recognition," the letter said.