By Nick Butler

Marius Vizer has praised the IOC decision to provisionally recognise Kosovo ©IJFInternational Judo Federation (IJF) President Marius Vizer has praised the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for provisionally recognising Kosovo, describing it as a "human, mature and fair" decision. 

The recognition, announced last week during the IOC Executive Board meeting in Montreux, still has to be rubber-stamped by the membership during the IOC Session in Monte Carlo on December 8 and 9, but this is expected to be a formality.

The decision followed a lengthy debate over whether Kosovo's application fulfilled the IOC Charter's requirement to be "recognised by the international community", because, although the Balkan Republic, which declared independence in 2008, is recognised by 108 of the 193 United Nations member states, it is not a member of the UN itself. 

Vizer, one of Kosovo's most consistent supporters who, although not an IOC member, is President of SportAccord, believes the decision is the right one because it provides an opportunity for athletes from the country to compete at the highest level.

"Following the IOC decision to recognise the Kosovo Olympic Committee I consider that it was a human, mature and fair decision from a sports and Olympic Movement point of view," he said.

"As well as an act of fair play towards the members of the sports community, with a major impact on the future of sports in Kosovo and the Balkan region.

"Although that in many cases the organisation of major global sports events depends very much on political decisions, in this case, solving the status of Kosovo is a purely sports decision and must be considered and treated as such.

"All members of humanity have the right to the universal values.

"Sport definitely is one of the most important universal values of the society."

Marius Vizer (right) with Kosovan Minister of Sports Memli Krasniqi when awarding the country full IJF membership in 2012 ©IJFMarius Vizer (right) with Kosovan Minister of Sports Memli Krasniqi when awarding the country full IJF membership in 2012 ©IJF

Kosovo was accepted as a full member of the IJF by the Executive Committee in April 2012, one of the first International Federations to do so.

Since then under 52 kilogram superstar Majlinda Kelmendi, who represented Albania at London 2012, has won World Championship titles in 2013 and 2014.

Providing the IOC membership approves the Executive Board decision, she will be the country's leading hope for a gold medal at Rio 2016.

Vizer described the 23-year-old as a "most eloquent example who marks, proves and represents the potential of Kosovo athletes".

"I would like to congratulate the Kosovo Olympic Committee and its President, Mr. Besim Hasani, the Ministry of Sports of Kosovo and Minister Memli Krasniqi, the Kosovo Judo Federation and its President, Mr. Agron Kuka," Vizer added.

"As well as the entire sports community of Kosovo and all the International Federations who had the courage and wisdom to support this project from the very beginning, wishing them a lot of success in the future and many achievements at all levels."

Two-time reigning world champion, Majlinda Kelmendi, should be Kosovo's leading medal hope for Rio 2016 ©IJFTwo-time reigning world champion, Majlinda Kelmendi, should be Kosovo's leading medal hope for Rio 2016 ©IJF

With 17 of 28 Summer International Federations still yet to fully recognise Kosovo, it is hoped others will follow the IJF's lead and do so over coming months.

This is unlikely to be a straightforward process, however, and the International Canoe Federation has already told insidethegames there will not be time for Kosovo's membership to be accepted before Rio 2016.

Many others are waiting for an application to be launched before they make a decision either way.

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