North Korea’s Olympic Committee has been suspended by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) until the end of next year, in punishment that includes the Beijing 2022 Winter Games. The Koreans will miss the event to be held in the Chinese capital.
The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee decided today to suspend the work of the North Korean Olympic Committee [PRK NOC, na sigla inglesa] by the end of 2022, as a result of the unilateral decision not to participate in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
North Koreans missed the summer event in the Japanese capital, citing concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic as justification for not sending any athletes. Now they will have to deal with the consequences of the decision.
Regarding the attendance of North Korean athletes at the Winter Games, the IOC Executive Board promises to take a “timely and appropriate decision” if qualification marks are obtained. But there is another non-negotiable dimension of the penalty: financial support for PRK NOC, which has so far been suspended due to international sanctions, has been “definitely abandoned”, because the North Koreans “did not contribute to the success of Tokyo 2020”.
In addition to these measures, the IOC plans to withdraw aid benefits or any international support programs for sports in North Korea by the end of next year.
Scholarships for Afghan athletes remain
North Korea was the only country with an Olympic Committee that was not present in Tokyo, even after “several talks with the IOC” and after offering “guarantees for safe games, with constructive proposals that led to an event and character, including the offer of vaccines, which were rejected systematically by PRK NOC”.
Refusal to participate in the Olympic Games is considered a breach of the Olympic Charter in relation to the rules of the Olympic Committees, resulting in the punishment now applied by the organization’s Executive Board.
As the President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, explained at a press conference, the situation in Afghanistan was one of the topics at the meeting, and it was decided to extend all development grants awarded to Afghan athletes.
“As a result of our efforts, all Afghan athletes who participated in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games are abroad. He confirmed that two winter athletes are abroad and are still training with the aim of qualifying for Beijing 2022.”
The IOC continues to try to introduce humanitarian visas to keep more athletes away from Afghanistan, where the Taliban have seized power, and immediately warned that it would not accept the replacement of the National Olympic Committee by any other body.
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