Northern Marianas Amateur Sports Association president Michael A. White made the announcement in NMASA's monthly meeting held April 3 at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.

White said ONOC accepted CNMI's application to become an associate member during its meeting last month in Fiji. The CNMI is now a provisional member, meaning its membership is subject to review based on ONOC's charter and bylaws.

White added that the review of the CNMI's provisional status is only a formality, and he is confident that the CNMI will get full associate membership status just like New Caledonia.

New Caledonia, an overseas territory of France, is an ONOC associate member and remains a part of the French Republic like the territories of French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna.

The CNMI is in political union under the U.S. government.

Guam (a U.S. territory), American Samoa (an unincorporated U.S. territory), and Puerto Rico (a commonwealth associated with the U.S.) are all under U.S. jurisdiction but are recognized by the IOC . Puerto Rico became an IOC member in 1948, American Samoa in 1985, and Guam in 1986.  For some unknown reason, the CNMI's application for full Olympic recogniztion, which was made at the same time as Guam's, was not acted upon.  Later, the IOC changed the eligibility rules, so that non-sovereign areas like CNMI were no longer eligible for IOC recognition. 

White added that, as an associate member, the CNMI is not eligible for direct grants from ONOC but may be able to avail itself of indirect funding and other ONOC-sponsored programs.

Last month, the CNMI scored a major victory in its ONOC associate membership bid after the United States Olympic Committee backed them up.

White received a copy of the letter sent by USOC Chief Executive Officer and Secretary General James E. Scherr expressing support for the CNMI's bid. members of the IOC from Oceania also supported associate membership for the CNMI.
Original Artlcle by Jonathan Perez, Saipan Tribune


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