IOC: Countries that bar Israeli athletes can’t host sports events

International Olympic Committee

In a thinly-veiled reference to countries which bar Israeli athletes, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has confirmed that nations which bar players from any country will be banned from hosting international sports championships.

The IOC said that a written declaration should be taken by the heads of sports federations from the governments hosting competitions. It must ensure that all the eligible players and teams should be able to compete and be treated on par with other players without any political discrimination.

IOC Sports Director Kit McConnell and Director of Olympic Solidarity James Macleod wrote in a letter: “We urge all (international federations) to be extremely vigilant when allocating and organising international sports competitions.”

The statement by the IOC followed the cancellation of the World Team Squash Championships in Malaysia after Kuala Lumpur denied entry to Israeli players. Serbia also disallowed boxers from Kosovo from participating in the AIBA Association Internationale de Boxe Amateur World Boxing Championship that took place from October 24 to November 6 this year.

According to Jerusalem Post, the IOC said it will work with the National Olympic Committees of Malaysia and Serbia to determine a solution to their banning of certain countries, and that failure to do so would “exclude themselves from the right to host international sports events until all the necessary assurances can be obtained and respected.”

The letter further states that following these rules are “the fundamental principles which govern the Olympic Movement.”

Israel and Malaysia currently do not have formal diplomatic relations. In 2019, Malaysia was banned from hosting the World Para Swimming Championships after it threatened to refuse visas to Israeli players.

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Earlier this month the World Squash Federation cancelled the World Squash Championship that was scheduled to take place in Kuala Lumpur from December 7-12 after the country refused to allow the participation of Israeli players.

The WSF had said in a statement: “The WSF believes in an open and inclusive Men’s World Team Squash Championships and the possibility that some nations would be unable to compete due to the lack of confirmation over the issuing of visas and travel authorisations by the National Authorities has led Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) to inform the WSF of the decision to cancel.”

The Israeli Squash Association had earlier sued the SRAM and the WSF at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland after Kuala Lumpur banned squash players from Israel from participating in the championship.

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