THE BIG PICTURE: IOC tells Spain to admit Kosovan athletes … or else!

In a comment to the InsideTheGames Web site, the deputy director of the IOC, Pere Miro (ESP) made it clear that the conditions under which athletes from Kosovo were required to compete at last week’s World Karate Championships in Madrid (ESP) are unacceptable.

Spain has no diplomatic relations with Kosovo, and while their athletes could wear uniforms with “KKF” on the back, the flag and anthem of Kosovo were not allowed to be shown and the individual athletes were identified as “WKF” on the scoreboards and results.

Said Miro, “If the Spanish Government are not in the conditions to guarantee the access not only to Kosovo but to every athlete to compete, we should warn all international federations that, until this is solved, they should not hold international competitions there.”

This was noted immediately by news media in Russia, China, India and Brazil, whose governments also do not recognize Kosovo. The IOC has been talking about this for more than a year, especially in regard to conditions for athletes from Israel and Kosovo.

The Spanish government said it “guaranteed” the safety of the Kosovo delegation and is open to talks with the IOC on this specific issue.