By Duncan Mackay

Ireland's Patrick Hickey has been given the newly-created role of being in charge of autonomy by IOC President Thomas Bach ©Getty ImagesApril 3 - Patrick Hickey has told insidethegames that he sees his new role as the Olympics autonomy tsar as "a great challenge".

The Irishman's appointment to the newly-created position was announced as part of a series of Commission heads revealed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). 

The role will involve Hickey being responsible for helping find a solution when National Olympic Committees run into problems that threaten their status, as is happening more and more frequently, particularly from Government interference.

Hickey was offered the role by IOC President Thomas Bach in the wake of the problems that affected the Indian Olympic Association's participation at Sochi 2014.

"Thomas Bach believes a big a problem in the Olympic Movement as doping and illegal gambling is autonomy," Hickey, President of the Olympic Council of Ireland, told insidethegames

"There are crisis' breaking out in NOCs, international federations, national federations and it's going to get worse.

"At the moment we are firefighting and the President believes that there is no-one senior enough in charge.

"He wants to get a firm grip on it because it is going to take a lot of work into the future.

"I will be acting directly for the President.

"My role will be going and sorting out these problems."

Patrick Hickey shakes hands with newly elected Indian Olympic Association President Narayna Ramachandra uring the welcome ceremony and flag raising at the Olympic Village during Sochi 2014 ©AFP/Getty ImagesPatrick Hickey greets Indian Olympic Association President Narayna Ramachandra at the welcome ceremony and flag raising at the Olympic Village during Sochi 2014
©AFP/Getty Images

The IOA was suspended for 14 months by the IOC after they refused to recognise elections which saw officials linked with corruption elected.

The ban was only lifted after Sochi 2014 had started following the election of Narayna Ramachandran as its new President. 

Other countries recently to have been suspended include Kuwait and Ghana, while Pakistan and Sri Lanka have been threatened with sanctions.

Hickey, also President of the European Olympic Committees and senior vice-president of the Association of National Olympic Committees, as well as a member of the IOC's ruling Executive Board, admitted he was proud to have been handpicked for the role by Bach. 

"As the months go on everyone will see what the role means," he told insidethegames.

"I see it is a great challenge.

"It's work I've been doing anyway in my roles in Europe and ANOC."

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March 2014: Autonomy of NOC's vital for future of Olympic Movement, claims Bach