IOC to consider placing Italy on probation for interference

Rome, Jan 25 (AP) | Publish Date: 1/25/2021 12:22:23 PM IST

The International Olympic Committee will consider imposing a humiliating probation on Italy’s team for the Tokyo Games this week because of a two-year domestic dispute that it says amounts to government interference.

The IOC has taken issue with the Italian government’s formation of a new organization, “Sport e Salute,” that was created at the start of 2019 to run the country’s sports finances. The money was previously controlled by an arm of the Italian Olympic Committee. Possible punishments from the IOC could include preventing Italian athletes in Tokyo from wearing their national team uniforms and hearing their national anthem being played.
Kuwait competed at the 2016 Rio de Janiero Olympics as “Independent Olympic Athletes” under the Olympic flag and anthem during a similar dispute over government interference.
The “Olympic Athletes from Russia” team name was used at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games because of the doping scandal. In the first of two warning letters that IOC president Thomas Bach wrote to Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte late last year, he noted that “significant legal and structural changes have been imposed on the national Olympic committee of Italy,” which is known as CONI.
“They unfortunately no longer allow CONI to fully perform its role as an IOC-recognized national Olympic committee and to operate in accordance with the Olympic charter,” Bach added. The IOC president also suggested that the supposed interference could — under extreme circumstances — result in Italy being stripped of hosting rights for the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo. Italian Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora responded to the IOC in November promising that government reforms would provide CONI “proper functional and organizational autonomy, as dictated by the Olympic Charter.”


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