(ATR) The International Olympic Committee is warning India that continued denial of visas to athletes from Kosovo could cost the country the ability to host international sports events.
"The IOC has sent letters to the Indian Government and the National Olympic Committee," a Olympic source based in Lausanne tellsAround the Rings.
The IOC attention on India comes at a time when the country is preparing to obtain governmental support and formalize a bid for the 2032 Olympics and Paralympics.
Kosovo could not participate at the AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships held in New Delhi last month after its sole representative, Donjeta Sadiku, was refused a visa by the Indian government. The Indian government doesn't recognize the newest European country.
The Indian Olympic Association plans to talk about the situation at its annual General Body Meeting December 22,
The IOC has asked all international federations to get a written guarantee from Indian authorities before awarding events that athletes can receive visas.
The IOC request is part of new efforts to protect the basic principles of autonomy and non-discrimination which govern the Olympic Movement. The IOC says that if the guarantee of travel cannot be provided, India could be excluded from hosting any international event.
The IOC's stance on the subject was brought to light when the Spanish government was warned after athletes from Kosovo were not allowed to participate under their own flag at the Karate World Championships held in Madrid.
"At the same time, the IOC sent specific letters to India," the IOC source toldATR.
The IOC has considered its position with regard to guaranteeing autonomy and non-discrimination to athletes and sport delegations a "battle horse", according to the IOC source.
On Dec. 8, the IOC will convene an Olympic Summit in Lausanne. The first agenda item is the Athletes’ Rights and Responsibilities Declaration, which includes to right of travel to represent their country.
Faith for Olympic Bid
The IOA says it is "dead serious" about bringing the Olympics and Paralympics to India in 2032. It has submitted a formal expression of interest to bid for the events and is set to approach the government for support.
IOC President Thomas Bach earlier this year said he welcomed an India bid for the 2032 Games.
Last week IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta met in Tokyo with IOC staff, including Jacqueline Barrett, Associate Director Olympic Games/Olympic Candidatures.
New Delhi and Mumbai are said to be the top two candidates as a host city, but other locations aren't ruled out.
If the usual timetable is followed, the formal bid process for the 2032 Olympics will start in 2022 and a host city will be announced in 2025.
Indonesia has already submitted its expression of interest after hosting the Asian Games earlier this year.
Chinese city Shanghai is also mulling over a bid, while Brisbane in Australia could be a contender to bring the Games back to the country for the first time since Sydney 2000.
North and South Korea are considering a joint bid while Germany also plans to host the 2032 Games in 13 cities of the country.
The IOA is expected to pass a resolution at the upcoming meeting to formally approach the government to back its plan.
So far, the response of the government has been cautious, according to media reports.
India had hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2010, which was one of the last major sporting events held in the country. It had earlier hosted two editions of the Asian Games.
Earlier this year, the Indian Olympic Association had said it would bid for the 2026 Youth Olympics, the 2030 Asian Games and the 2032 Olympics.
Reported by Miguel Hernandez.