Kosovo visa denial triggers strong reaction from IOC

Donjeta Sadiku

India’s denial to grant Kosovo boxer Donjeta Sadiku a visa for Women’s World Boxing championships has received a strong reaction from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The world body has shot a letter to all international sports federations stating that until the issue is resolved India is not in a position to host international sporting events that involve the participation of Kosovo.

Indian government does not recognise Kosovo, a disputed territory in South Eastern Europe. Sadiku was also denied visa by India for Youth World Championships held in Guwahati last year, before being met the same treatment for the Worlds.

“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,” IOC Deputy Director General Pere Miro wrote to all International Sports Federations on November 19.

“In view of all of the above, 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.

“Should this not be possible, or should there be any doubt, said the 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.”

IOC stated the example of Spain, where earlier Kosovo athletes were not allowed to compete under their flag. The IOC said the Spanish government has now provided a clear undertaking to “guarantee the participation of Kosovan athletes in sporting events organised in Spain under the auspices of the IOC, as was the case for the Mediterranean Games in Tarragona.”

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Kosovo visa denial triggers strong reaction from IOC

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