Fennell to Step Down at CGF to Pave Way for Tunku Presidency

May 13, 2011

Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) President Mike Fennell is set to end his 17-year reign over the body, having promised Malyasia’s Prince Tunku Imran that he will not stand against him in the elections later this year.

The Jamaican was first elected at Victoria in Canada in 1994 but will step down in November at the Assembly in St Kitts and Nevis when Tunku, who has been the CGF’s vice-president since 2003, is expected to be the only candidate.

Fennell confirmed that he would not be seeking another term during a telephone call with Tunku earlier this week. Fennell had been forced to miss this week’s Executive Board meeting of the CGF because he is currently recovering in Jamaica from triple heart bypass surgery.

Tunku stated: “I was in contact with Mike Fennell to let him know that I’d like to announce my candidacy during the time of the EB, particularly as so many [CGF] regional vice-presidents were here.

“I did announce to the Board that I would be standing. Mike Fennell said to me, ‘If you are standing then I won’t’. He’s said he is going to stand down.”

Tunku has been a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) since 2006 and President of the Olympic Council of Malaysia since 1998, the year that Kuala Lumpur became the first country in Asia to host the Commonwealth Games, the event widely credited with helping reinvigorate the Games. 

Tunku added: “Since Kuala Lumpur the Federation has gone…to something that is much bigger. Our vision was that the Games should represent what the Commonwealth is best at. We made it happen.”

Tunku now wants to carry on that philosophy when he is elected as President and plans to arrange a strategic review early next year involving the GCF, Commonwealth Games Associations and sports to discuss the future direction of the events, including how to get the top athletes like Usain Bolt to compete. 

“I’m keen not to change direction but to strengthen the Federation in so many ways,” he said. 

“We need to be better known. We have to try establish the desire of top athletes to want to be part of the Games, without obviously getting into the payment of monies because we can’t go down that route.

“We’ve got to change the perception of the top athletes. That’s to do with how we market the Games and position the Games.”