Saturday, 25 May, 2019

IOA tells sports ministry to resolve Kosovo boxer visa issue immediately

Spain’s position on Kosovo could hurt its chances to host major sports events Joint statement of the IOC and the Spanish Olympic Committee - Olympic News
Shannon Reynolds | 16 November, 2018, 20:46

"It is a sensitive issue, I don't want to comment much on it", he said during a press conference in New Delhi. A spokesman for the Diplomatic Information Office said that in countries that do not recognize Kosovo, these athletes are allowed to participate under the flag of the Kosovo Olympic Committee.

Her words appear to have had no impact and her chances of participating in the World Championships are virtually over as Sadiku's name does not figure in the draw, released on Wednesday.

"In this situation, it is impossible for Spain to organize anything", said Alejandro Blanco, president of the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE), following a week that was marked by the Kosovo delegation's problems at the Karate World Championships in Madrid. Two coaches from Kosovo are also waiting for their visas.

Recently, the IOC had sent letters to all the global federations not to award major events to Spain after athletes from Kosovo were not allowed to participate under their own flag at the Karate World Championships held there.

IOA president Narinder Batra cautioned the authorities that denial of visa to the lone Kosovo boxer could lead to the IOC asking all the global federations not to award major events to India.

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Government sources expressed surprise at the possibility that the IOC could consider not hosting worldwide events in countries that do not recognize Kosovo, which also include Russia, China, India and Brazil. "Unless there is formal recognition of Kosovo as an independent nation, there is no way someone from the country can be granted a visa", officials said. We might also get a letter from the International Olympic Committee soon. "But that's how it stands at the moment", an anonymous official was quoted as saying by AFP.

"We can recognise or not a country at the political level, we don't have an opinion on that", International Olympic Committee vice president Juan Antonio Samaranch, who is from Spain, told reporters in Madrid.

The Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil were the first Olympics in which Kosovo athletes competed under their own flag, after Kosovo was accepted as a member of the IOC in 2014. "Otherwise, this will threaten the fundamental principles of Olympic Movement", Batra wrote in his letter.

Because of its own concerns about separatist movements in the Basque Country and Catalonia, Spain is one of the last European Union states to recognise Kosovo's independence from Serbia, which was declared in 2008. Sources within the organisation also revealed that they had initially expected Sadiku to use her Albanian passport. All because India is a nation that does not recognise Kosovo's independence and, thus, will have issues while procuring a visa for a Kosovan boxer before the upcoming Women's World Boxing C'ships in the Indian capital starting tomorrow.

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