The International Olympic Committee has asked all its member federations not to grant any world event to India involving Kosovo after the former denied visa to a boxer from the European nation for the ongoing Women’s World Boxing Championships in New Delhi, PTI reported.
In a strongly-worded letter to the President and Secretary-General of all International Federations (IFs) on Monday, the IOC reiterated its position on political discrimination against countries at sporting events in the light of the recent development involving Kosovo.
“The IOC has been working together with the International Federations, and the umbrella organisations concerned, for many years to protect the fundamental principles which govern the Olympic Movement and make sure that, when a national sports organisation/country decides to bid for an international sports event, it equally abides by the rules of the Olympic Movement,” IOC Deputy Director General Pere Miro said.
“The national sports federation must guarantee that all athletes and sporting delegations eligible to come and participate, without any undue discrimination or political interference from the host country,” he said.
The IOC has asked all the IFs to get a written undertaking from the Indian authorities for equal participation before allotting the country any world event in future involving Kosovo.
“Unfortunately, there are also a few examples which could not be resolved successfully and in which sporting delegations were prevented by the host country from participating in an international sporting event organised by an International Federation.
“The latest incident occurred in India, where the sporting delegation and athletes from Kosovo were not allowed to come and participate in a world boxing championship (this year and last year).”
“This shows clearly that, until this matter is seriously addressed and resolved by the competent Indian authorities, India is not in a position to host international sporting events in which a sporting delegation from Kosovo is due to take part.”
The recent development follows high-profile controversies involving Kosovo, who faced stumbling blocks at both the World Karate Championships earlier this month and the ongoing Women’s Boxing World Championships.
Kosovo were unable to participate at the boxing event after their sole representative Donjeta Sadiku was refused visa by the Indian government, which doesn’t recognise the country.
“The IOC strongly recommends that before allocating any international sports events to a country, all international sports organisations concerned make sure that all the necessary written guarantees are obtained from the local authorities/organiser to ensure equal treatment for the participating athletes and sporting delegations, in accordance with the basic principles of autonomy and non-discrimination which govern the Olympic Movement,” the letter from IOC further reads.
“Should this not be possible, or should there be any doubt, said country would exclude itself from the right to host international sporting events, and the international sports organisation concerned should not allocate any international sports event to this country until the issue is resolved and all the necessary guarantees are provided and implemented.”
At the World Karate Championships in Madrid earlier this year, Kosovo were prevented from competing under their own flag as Spain to doesn’t recognise the country, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008.
However, the Spanish government later promised to allow athletes from Kosovo to compete without discrimination. The recent development has cast a shadow over India hosting the 2021 Men’s Boxing World Championships and the Indian Olympic Association President Narinder Batra has requested Boxing Federation of India chief Ajay Singh to address the matter at the earliest.
“Requesting you (Singh) as Chair of the IOA Coordination Committee to fix meeting with government on urgent basis to sort out the above issue,” Batra said in his communication to the BFI President.