IOA tells sports ministry to resolve Kosovo boxer visa issue immediately

Tanya Simon
November 16, 2018

Should stand.The Spanish government has chose to grant athletes from Kosovo the same rights as other nationalities when participating in global competitions held in Spain.

India does not recognise Kosovo - a disputed territory in South Eastern Europe.

But Hasani added that the problem "is not only with Kosovo; there are also problems in Russia-Ukraine [sporting] relations, with Israel and Arab states and vice versa".

A professional boxer from Kosovo has been denied entry to India to compete in the women's world championships because the foreign ministry does not recognise her country, an official said Tuesday.

"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 IFs [international federations] that, until this is solved, they should not hold worldwide competitions there", the IOC's director for National Olympic Committee (NOC) relations, Pere Miro, was as saying by Inside The Games.

India's dreams of hosting major multi-discipline sporting events might be under threat with the lone boxer from Kosovo unlikely to receive her visa for the Women's World Boxing Championships starting here from Thursday. IOA president Narendra Batra warned India to gear for similar backlash.

This led the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ask international federations not to award major competitions to Spain until this issue is resolved, a source close to the Switzerland-based body said.

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He said that "the International Olympic Committee and other international federations are putting a lot of effort into keeping politics away from sports, and for athletes to be treated equally everywhere", but issues still occur.

Government sources expressed surprise at the possibility that the IOC could consider not hosting global events in countries that do not recognize Kosovo, which also include Russia, China, India and Brazil.

"So we might also get a letter from the International Olympic Committee soon, and will be in danger of losing big events. Otherwise, this will threaten the fundamental principles of Olympic Movement", he wrote in the letter.

Spain's decision to give out visas and allow Kosovan athletes to use their flag and anthem was welcomed by Spain's Olympic Committee and the IOC.

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.

Kosovan boxers did not participate in the Youth World Championships held in Guwahati previous year due to the same issue.

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