THE BIG PICTURE: IOC says no events for countries that don’t admit everyone

The International Olympic Committee has come out with its most direct statement yet on the question of issue of athletes competing in international events in countries which do not recognize their home nation.

“The most recent example is in Spain, where sporting delegations from Kosovo have encountered recurrent difficulties with regard to their participation in several international sports events held in Spain,” said the statement, noting especially the problems with visas and then uniforms, flags and anthems at the World Karate Championships in Madrid earlier this month.

The IOC directed specific actions to deal with instances like this:

“Should this not be possible, or should there be any doubt, the IOC has made it clear that any country unable to guarantee these principles would exclude itself from the right to host international sporting events. International sports organisations concerned should not allocate any international sports event to such a country until the issue is resolved and all the necessary guarantees are provided and implemented. …

“In this context, it is requested that, when sporting delegations come from a country/territory that is not recognised by the host country, specific practical measures are taken by the local organisers/host country to secure the participation of these athletes and sporting delegations under the same conditions as any other participating delegation. This is without prejudice to the political position of the host country vis-à-vis the country/territory in question, which is a separate matter over which the Olympic Movement has no competence or authority.”

Spain has Olympic ambitions for the 2030 Winter Games and India – now hosting the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships – has excluded the one Kosovo entry, endangering its stated interests in hosting the 2026 Olympic Youth Games, 2030 Asian Games and 2032 Olympic Games.