Exclusive: We do not recognise NOCs for Abkhazia or South Ossetia, says IOC official
Thursday, 19 September 2013
September 19 - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has insisted that it does not recognise National Olympic Committees for Abkhazia or South Ossetia after the Russian Olympic Committee listed the two Georgian rebel regions as separate entities on its database for the Sochi 2014 Olympics and Paralympics.
"The IOC currently recognises 204 National Olympic Committees," an IOC official told insidethegames.
"As stated in the Olympic Charter, 'they have the exclusive authority for the representation of their respective countries at the Olympic Games and at the regional, continental or world multi-sports competitions patronised by the IOC'.
"To be eligible for participation in the Olympic Games a competitor must be entered by his NOC as recognised by the IOC.
"The IOC does recognise an NOC for Georgia (which has jurisdiction over the whole territory of Georgia) but does not recognise an NOC for Abkhazia or South Ossetia."
Georgia's Foreign Ministry is also said to be preparing a protest against the move by Russia, with which the nation has maintained no diplomatic relations since a brief war in 2008 when Moscow crushed a Georgian assault to reassert control over the two rebel regions and later recognised them.
Georgia announced the two unrecognised republics as occupied territories in September 2008.
"It's a pretty bad precedent," Georgian Olympic Committee first vice-president Elgudja Berishvili said.
"It will be followed by due reaction from our side.
"Abkhazia and South Ossetia are not recognised by the United Nations and 99 per cent of the world and, of course, by the International Olympic Committee, therefore, their participation in any programme of the Olympic Games as independent states is not possible."
Last month Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov slammed the West for still applying "double standards" in its position on the international status of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
"Our Western partners - along with some other countries - are still strongly biased in regard to the republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia," he said.
For an NOC to be recognised by the IOC it must be established as a "country", which, in the Olympic Charter Rule 30.1, means an "independent state recognised by the international community".
May 2013: Georgia officially lift threat of Sochi 2014 boycott
December 2012: Georgia confirm participation at Sochi 2014 after dropping boycott threat
November 2010: Russian Deputy Prime Minister blasts Georgia over Sochi 2014 threats
August 2009: Europe backs Sochi in row with Georgia