Janez Kocijančič claimed the EOC would wait for the outcome of an IOC investigation into the incident ©Twitter/Team Serbia

European Olympic Committees (EOC) President Janez Kocijančič has claimed the organisation will not tolerate discrimination of athletes, but will await the results of an International Olympic Committee (IOC) investigation after the Kosovan karate team were prevented from entering Serbia this week.

Kosovo's karate team were twice barred from entering Serbia for the European Championships in Novi Sad.

The decision was taken by the Government after they accused Kosovo of violating an agreement between the two countries amid ongoing political tension.

Pere Miró, IOC deputy director general, told insidethegames that they were "ready to take the necessary measures to avoid this situation being repeated".

Miró said the IOC were aware of the "problematic participation" of Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008, at the event.

A series of meetings, facilitated by the IOC, were held involving the World Karate Federation, the European Karate Federation (EKF), the respective National Olympic Committees and the Serbian Government.

An agreement surrounding Kosovo's participation was reached, according to Miró.

Serbia's Government warned earlier this week that the delegation would not be able to display any national symbols during the event, which began yesterday and concludes tomorrow.

The Government then confirmed Kosovo would not be able to participate at the event.

Although the organisation have no involvement in the European Championships, the event coincided with the EOC seminar here in Belgrade.

Kosovo were among the 50 European NOCs to participate at a seminar in Belgrade ©Twitter/Team Serbia
Kosovo were among the 50 European NOCs to participate at a seminar in Belgrade ©Twitter/Team Serbia

The Kosovo Olympic Committee were represented at the two-day seminar, which concluded here today.

Kocijančič welcomed Kosovo’s participation at the event, while he stated the organisation would wait for the IOC investigation into the European Karate Championships to conclude.

“Regarding the incident at the European Karate Championships, there is an investigation at the IOC and we have to wait for the results,” he told insidethegames.

“Most of this is happening at the political and state level.

“It is not our field, we are never involved in countries deciding who recognises who.

“Unfortunately in Europe we have quite a number of problems like this.

“On a long-term basis, we will never tolerant discrimination of athletes at any time.

“It is very clear, the National Olympic Committee of Kosovo is recognised by the IOC and are members of the EOC.

“They have participated here with full rights and there is absolutely no difference between NOCs here.

“When we are sitting around the table we are all equal.”

In a separate development, the EKF stated they had held an extraordinary meeting to analyse the events regarding the participation of athletes from Kosovo.

They have now launched a separate investigation from the IOC, with a special commission convened to gather information.

“The commission will be chaired by EKF general secretary Stjepan Celan,” an EKF statement read.

“EKF first vice-president Jiri Bocek and EKF third Vice-president Wolfgang Weigert will complete the panel.

“After getting all the details on the matter from all the parties involved, the commission will draft a report for its analysis by the Executive Committee.”

The incident marked the latest sporting dispute involving Serbia and Kosovo.

Serbia has continually opposed Kosovo being accepted as members of International Federations, including those for athletics and football.

Spain was recently stripped of the 2018 Junior and Under-23 Weightlifting Championships because of the country's political stance on Kosovo.

Kosovo became part of the IOC in 2014 and made their Olympic debut at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

IOC President Thomas Bach last month called on sport to "show its teeth" by taking action to combat cases of countries restricting the way other nations participate at competitions on political grounds.

It followed a series of recent troubles involving the participation of Israel at events in Islamic countries, along with the ongoing issues with Kosovo.