Italy's New Sports Law May Cost Country Right To Host 2026 Olympics - NOC President

Italy's New Sports Law May Cost Country Right to Host 2026 Olympics - NOC President

ROME (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 16th August, 2019) Italy risks being suspended from participating in the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics and even being deprived of the right to host the 2026 Winter Olympics due to a new sports law and the acute political crisis in the country, President of the Italian National Olympic Committee (NOC) Giovanni Malago warned on Thursday.

Earlier in August, the Italian parliament approved the reform of the national sports system. The new law empowers the country's government to organize sports events and puts NOC's financial activities under the government's control. The legislation has already prompted the IOC to send a letter to Rome allegedly warning that depriving NOC of its autonomy violated the Olympic Charter. The IOC also said that it could suspend the Italian national team from participating in the Olympics.

"I am deeply concerned over Olympic future of the Italian sport. There are a lot of dark clouds on the horizon now. The horizon is darkening due to the political crisis, uncertainty concerning the government's future and rejecting by the International Olympic Committee [IOC] the law on the sports reform, approved by the parliament on August 6," Malago said in an interview to the Tuttosport newspaper.

According the the NOC president, consequences of the political crisis and tensions around the law could be detrimental for the national sports.

"There is a threat that the NOC powers will be suspended and, consequently, our athletes will be banned from participating in Tokyo Olympics in 2020 under the national colors," Malago stressed, noting that Italy's right to host the Winter Olympics in Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo in 2026 could also be challenged.

According to Malago, the situation is aggravated by the fact that it is still unclear who will represent the country's government at the upcoming meeting the 2026 Winter Olympic Games Organizing Committee set to bring together members of NOC, IOC, the government and the local authorities.

Italy is currently going through the political crisis due to the rift between the two coalition partners, Five Star Movement (M5S) and Lega, deepened last week after the M5S voted against a costly Turin-Lyon high-speed rail link project (TAV) backed by the latter. The Lega leader and interior minister, Matteo Salvini, then announced the collapse of the coalition and submitted a no-confidence motion against the government in a bid to trigger snap elections. The final decision is up to Italian President Sergio Mattarella.

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