India might not get to host big events over Kosovo row

Spain’s position on Kosovo could hurt its chances to host major sports events

Not recognising Kosovo could cost Spain major events

The IOA chief, who is also the president of International Hockey Federation, said that non-granting of visa to the lone Kosovo boxer could lead to the IOC asking all the international federation not to award major events to India. The catalyst was a totally unrelated event being held in Spain - the Karate World Championships in Madrid.

"She can come here as an Albanian citizen because we recognise Albania but how will that help in representing Kosovo when the Kosovan flag cannot be hoisted on Indian soil?"

The Spanish government had earlier said it never denied visas to Kosovo athletes, and that it had done everything to allow them to compete in Spain despite not recognizing the country's independence.

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The International Olympic Committee has welcomed a promise from the Spanish government it will let Kosovan athletes compete in Spain under their own flag. "This had happened previous year as well", said IOA president Narinder Batra.

In a strongly-worded letter to the Sports ministry, Batra wrote, "It is required that immediate action is taken today by Indian authorities to make sure the athletes and delegation from Kosovo will be able to take part in the women's World Boxing Championships, and will be treated in the same conditions as any other participants without any undue discrimination in accordance with the values and principles which govern the Olympic movement worldwide".

"Wherever athletes of Kosovo are not allowed to participate, it damages them directly because they lose the chance to qualify for the World Championships or Olympic Games", Hasani said. The entire middle-east does not recognise Israel but their judo team participated in UAE (in the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam 2018) under their flag and anthem.

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Once again, the IOC and the COE wish to underline the fundamental role played by sport and the Olympic Movement in building a more inclusive, fairer society, in which dialogue and respect are the cornerstones and key principles. The sports ministry has also taken note of this apprehension.

The decision by the Spanish Government was communicated today, 14 November 2018, by letter to the COE President, Mr Alejandro Blanco, and we would like to reiterate our honest gratitude for this decision, adopted by the Spanish Government and supported by the Prime Minister, Mr Pedro Sánchez. "But now it is up to them". The BFI President Ajay Singh said they are discussing the sensitive issue with the Indian government. "We are still talking to the Ministry of External Affairs". "I do not see this issue being a big problem, it's a problem that will be solved very quickly", he added.

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