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IOC principle of autonomy and non-discrimination

2018-11-20 09:07:00


The IOC sent a letter today to all International Federations to reiterate its position on the participation in international sports events, particularly with regard to guaranteeing autonomy and non-discrimination.

The IOC has today again underlined that, before allocating any international sports events to a country, all international sports organisations concerned must make sure that all the necessary written guarantees are obtained from the local authorities/organisers. This is to ensure equal treatment for the participating athletes and sporting delegations, in accordance with the basic principles of autonomy and non-discrimination which govern the Olympic Movement. Should this not be possible, or should there be any doubt, the IOC has made it clear that any country unable to guarantee these principles would exclude itself from the right to host international sporting events. International sports organisations concerned should not allocate any international sports event to such a country until the issue is resolved and all the necessary guarantees are provided and implemented.

There have been numerous examples in the recent past of issues which were resolved smoothly and successfully thanks to a joint approach and close collaboration between the IOC, the International Federation concerned, the local organisers/authorities and the NOC concerned. The most recent example is in Spain, where sporting delegations from Kosovo have encountered recurrent difficulties with regard to their participation in several international sports events held in Spain. The Spanish Government has now provided a clear undertaking to “guarantee the participation of Kosovan athletes in sporting events organised in Spain under the auspices of the IOC, as was the case for the Mediterranean Games in Tarragona. That is, to facilitate the issuance of visas for the Kosovan participants and allow the use of their national symbols, flag and anthem in accordance with Olympic protocol. In short, to ensure that these athletes can participate on equal terms with others.” The IOC and the Spanish Olympic Committee have already expressed their thanks to the Spanish authorities for this very clear undertaking for all future international sports events organised in Spain.

The IOC has been working together with the International Federations, and the umbrella organisations concerned, for many years to protect the athletes’ interests and their right to compete. This goes beyond any political consideration, and includes the fairness and integrity of the sports competitions in accordance with the fundamental principles which govern the Olympic Movement. This means, in particular, that when a national sports organisation/country decides to bid for, and host, an international sports event, it equally agrees to abide by the rules of the Olympic Movement and must guarantee that all athletes and sporting delegations eligible to participate, as determined by the international sports organisation concerned, can do so without any undue discrimination or political interference from the host country.

In this context, it is requested that, when sporting delegations come from a country/territory that is not recognised by the host country, specific practical measures are taken by the local organisers/host country to secure the participation of these athletes and sporting delegations under the same conditions as any other participating delegation. This is without prejudice to the political position of the host country vis-à-vis the country/territory in question, which is a separate matter over which the Olympic Movement has no competence or authority.

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