From: Alice Taylor
World Athletics Confident Kosovo will Participate in Serbian Event with No Issues

The World Athletics organisation has said it does not “anticipate any issues” at the upcoming World Indoor Championships in Belgrade, regarding the participation of Kosovo, which Serbia does not recognise as an independent country.

The Serbian capital of Belgrade is set to host the World Athletics Indoor Championships between 18 and 20 March. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had previously warned Serbia that it must not prevent athletes from certain countries from taking part in the event.

World Athletics who is organising the event, was asked by insidethegames whether it had received assurances that Kosovo would be allowed to participate. They stated they were confident there would be no issues.

The confirmation comes after Kosovo’s male boxing team was refused entry to Serbia to take part in the World Championships in Belgrade.

When the team tried to cross the Serbian border on three occasions, they were told by Serbian border authorities to remove their uniforms which displayed Kosovo national symbols. The team refused, as AIBA, the International Boxing Association, had promised them fair and equal treatment in this respect.

The issue led Albania threatening to quit, as Albania’s trainer, Zef Gjoni, reached out to Prime Minister Edi Rama and told him that Albania would withdraw from the competition if Kosovo’s exclusion persisted.

EC spokesperson Peter Stano said at the time, “the Kosovo Boxing Association [should] not be treated differently from the delegation of any other member of the Association and that Kosovo [should] be allowed to participate on an equal footing.”