The ejection of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Spain calling on Spain to recognize the Kosovar sports delegations has taken effect: the Spanish government will provide athletes from Kosovo to compete in Spain with the corresponding visa and will be authorized to use their national symbols, the hymn and the flag in accordance with the Olympic protocol. In this way, the Kosovar sportsmen – Kosovo declared himself unilaterally independent in 2008 – are finally able to be recognized in the competitions that are taking place in Spanish territory.
Half an afternoon, the IOC and the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) published a statement in which they celebrated the note they had received from the Spanish Foreign Minister, Josep Borrell, in which the recognition of sportsmen defending the flag was guaranteed of Kosovo. Both the IOC and the COE confirmed the new position adopted by the Spanish executive and expressed their "maximum satisfaction".
In their statement, the two Olympic committees wanted to highlight the fact that "it is ensured that Kosovo athletes can participate in equal conditions with the rest of the athletes of the 206 national Olympic committees recognized by the IOC." In the same way, both the IOC and the COE transmitted "his deep gratitude for the decision adopted by the Spanish government and driven by President Pedro Sánchez."
A change of opinion in 48 hours
With the change in the opinion of the Spanish government, a sporting crisis is put in place that began on Monday when the IOC threatened Spain not granting sporting events in the country if the guarantees offered by Kosovo athletes were not offered without any kind of discrimination in Spanish territory.
A warning from the sports team that was made public after the refusal of Spain to allow the Kosovars to participate in the Karate World Championship, which was disputed in Madrid between November 6 and 11, under its flag. In their place, the athletes of this Balkan country had to compete with the flag of the International Karate Federation (WKF), as it appeared to the markers. Yes, they could instead wear their uniforms with the KKF abbreviations, which identify the Kosovar federation.
This was "the drop that poured the glass", as said Deputy Director of the IOC, Pere Miró, to the Efe agency. "Spain is the only country with which there is no solution on Kosovo. Two years ago, and two different governments, this situation lasts. The Karate World Cup has been the drop that has shed the glass, "said Miró before knowing the change in the opinion of the Spanish government, which finally gave way to the threats of the IOC and has been forced to retreat and Recognize athletes from a country that became a full member of the IOC in 2014.
In this way, the half-tone actions that condemned the Kosovar sportsmen have ended, such as participating in the aforementioned Karate World with the acronyms of the Kosovar federation in uniform but unable to compete under the Kosovo flag. It was an agreement similar to that produced between the Spanish and Kosovar governments for the participation of Balkan athletes in the Mediterranean Games of Tarragona in June. At that time, the athletes competed as the National Olympic Committee of Kosovo, but their flag was not displayed during the inaugural ceremony.
The case of Kosovo is not the only precedent of a sports limitation in Spanish territory. In September, at the World Athletics Master (WMA), organized in Malaga, the Spanish government banned the Gibraltar athletes from competing under their banner, and instead had to do so under a neutral flag. Of the five participants, four withdrew in protest.
The change in the position of the Spanish government vis-à-vis the Kosovar athletes allows the Catalan candidacy to breathe with optimism to organize the 2030 Winter Olympic Games between Barcelona and the Pyrenees -or, in a hypothetical case, in 2026, as yesterday it goes Learn about Calgary's resignation to welcome them this year. For his part, yesterday, in an interview with the Efe agency, the president of the Spanish Athletics Federation and former sports director of the Madrid 2016 and Madrid 2020 Olympic candidatures, Raul Chapado, stated that the Barcelona project -Pirineus 2030 "would be powerful and would come very far".
"I am convinced that Barcelona would be a great candidate," he insisted. "We should solve the political situation, but the project is very powerful and I think that the Olympic movement needs it," said Chapado, who praised "the structure" of Barcelona.