While there was some relief for the hosts of the Shooting World Cup in New Delhi late on Thursday night, the International Olympic Commission also announced suspension of all discussions with India regarding rights to host any future sports and Olympic-related events in the country.
The decision comes after India, in the aftermath of the terror attack in Pulwama, failed to grant visas to a three-member Pakistan team for the shooting World Cup which begins in New Delhi on Saturday. The IOC had to revoke two Olympic quotas from the event – 25m rapid fire pistol – in which Pakistan shooters were participating, but decided to retain the other 14 spots on offer.
But in the statement, the IOC made it clear that this was being done considering the number of athletes who were already in India for the event as it would have been unfair on them to deny Olympic quota places at the last minute.
IOC said discussions with India are suspended “until clear written guarantees are obtained from the Indian government to ensure the entry of all participants in such events in full compliance with the rules of the Olympic Charter – and to recommend that the IFs neither award to nor hold sports events in India until the above-mentioned guarantees are obtained.”
IOC has been strict about the Olympic charter which asks for no discrimination and political interference from the host country. India are scheduled to hold another shooting World Cup in 2020, as well as bidding for other multi-national events like the Asian Games and Youth Olympics Games, which now look unlikely to go ahead as things stand.
Here’s the IOC statement in full:
The IOC was informed on 18 February that the Indian government authorities failed to grant an entry visa to the Pakistani delegation comprising two athletes and one official who were meant to participate in the ISSF World Cup. This is a qualification competition for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 in which direct quotas are earned by the respective National Olympic Committees (NOCs). The two Pakistani athletes were due to compete in the men’s 25m rapid fire pistol event, starting Saturday 23 February, in which two quota places are available for the Games.
The IOC restricted the withdrawal of recognition as an Olympic qualification event to the 25m rapid fire pistol competition in which the two Pakistani athletes were supposed to participate. This happened in the interest of the other 500 athletes from 61 countries participating in the other events who are already in India for their competition.
Since becoming aware of the issue, and in spite of intense last-minute joint efforts by the IOC, the ISSF and the Indian NOC, and discussions with the Indian government authorities, no solution has been found to allow the Pakistani delegation to enter India in time to compete.
This situation goes against the Fundamental Principles of the Olympic Charter, in particular the principles of non-discrimination, as well as the IOC’s and the Olympic Movement’s position, reiterated on many occasions over the past few years, that equal treatment must be guaranteed for all participating athletes and sporting delegations at international sports events, without any form of discrimination or political interference from the host country.
As a result, the IOC Executive Board also decided to suspend all discussions with the Indian NOC and government regarding the potential applications for hosting future sports and Olympic-related events in India, until clear written guarantees are obtained from the Indian government to ensure the entry of all participants in such events in full compliance with the rules of the Olympic Charter – and to recommend that the IFs neither award to nor hold sports events in India until the above-mentioned guarantees are obtained.
The ISSF was asked to make a proposal on how the two available Olympic quota places will now be otherwise reassigned.