Mediterranean Games, Spain could refuse visas to Kosovo

Madrid doesn't recognize Balkan country but IOC has accepted it

17 February, 01:29

    MADRID - Spain could ban athletes from Kosovo at the Mediterranean Games, scheduled on June 22-July 1 in Tarragona because it has yet to confirm whether it will grant them visas, according to a director of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Pere Mirò, quoted by Catalan radio Rac1.

    The IOC has registered the Olympic committee of the Balkan country, which Spain does not instead recognize as a State.

    There are 26 countries who have registered for the Mediterranean Games. Organizers include the Superior council of sport, an agency of the Spanish government. The IOC has sent two letters to the cabinet of Mariano Rajoy, asking to know whether visas were sent to the Kosovan delegation, without receiving a reply.

    ''It is worrisome because there is a UN resolution that defends the autonomy of sports'', observed Pere Miro, saying that a potential refusal could open a diplomatic conflict. The director has recalled that the Olympic body never had problems with a State, ''although there are countries without diplomatic relations''. ''Russia does not recognize Kosovo but allowed it to participate in the Winter games'', he concluded. 

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