Spain is, together with Greece, the only major European country that does not recognize Kosovo, the Balkan country that self-proclaimed its independence in 2008. This measure may be necessary to deal with the Catalan problem but it endangers its weight and prestige in the international sports movement, and the possibility of organizing an Olympic Games or a World Cup.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has warned that it has written a letter that will be sent next Thursday to all international federations to ask them not to grant Spain the organization of any international competition of any sport if it is not guaranteed that the Kosovar athletes can participate with your anthem and flag. The Olympic threat, verbalized initially in a statement by Pere Miró, deputy general director of the IOC, to the web insidethegames.biz,it takes place just the day before the presentation in the Superior Council of Sports (CSD) of the international strategy office, which aims to "promote, develop and promote the organization of major international events in Spain."
"In this situation, it is impossible for Spain to organize anything," says Alejandro Blanco, president of the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) after a week marked by the problems suffered by the Kosovar delegation in the karate world championships played in Madrid. The karatecas of the small Balkan country were able to participate, but they were not allowed to use their flag or their anthem. Not even the name of his nation could be included in the tracksuits, marked only with the acronym KKF (Kosovo Karate Federation) or in the results markers, where they were identified with the acronym WKF5 (World Karate Federation).
The IOC, as well as the vast majority of international federations, admitted Kosovo in 2014.
"It is the compromise agreement that was reached," says Blanco, who recalls that it is a step back from what has been achieved to guarantee the participation of Kosovars in the recent Mediterranean Games of Tarragona. The athletes were able to enter Spain with their passports and paraded under the banner of the Kosovo Olympic Committee. "Everyone accepted the Olympic Charter, whose validity was contemplated by the Spanish Government." A similar agreement allowed Kosovo to participate in the Rio 2016 Games. Brazil is another country that does not recognize the Balkan Republic.
"In all countries of the world, except in Spain, the Kosovars compete without problems, with the same rights and guarantees as other athletes," adds the Spanish Olympic President, who points out that neither the IOC nor the federations question Spanish politics nor they come to value it. "We have to respect the laws and the decisions of the Government, of course, but also those of the federations and the IOC. The sport can not admit that in a competition they can be all except Kosovo ".
Blanco admits that the Olympic movement is talking about the problem with the Spanish government.
The Foreign Ministry claims to have no official record of the IOC changing its position regarding the participation of Kosovo athletes in events organized in states that do not recognize their independence. A spokesman for the Diplomatic Information Office (OID) explained that in those states the participation of athletes under the banner of the Kosovo Olympic Committee, not of Kosovo as a state entity, is allowed and visa facilitation is facilitated.
According to the spokesman, the recent lifting of the Kosovar flag was planned at the recent World Cup, and the anthem of that territory would be played in the event that one of its athletes had won a gold medal, which did not happen. "That was the formula to respect, on the one hand, the Olympic card and, on the other, our legal position to avoid any act of recognition," concluded the same spokesman.
On the other hand, government sources expressed surprise at the possibility that the IOC consider not awarding international events in countries that do not recognize Kosovo, such as Russia, China or Brazil, and questioned the statements of the deputy director general of the organization , the Catalan Pere Miró.