CONI President Giovanni Malagò said he was concerned about a ban of the Italian flag and anthem at Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images

Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) President Giovanni Malagò has warned the risk of the country's flag and anthem being banned at this year's Olympic Games in Tokyo is "very high" due to potential Government interference. 

Malagò spoke to Radio Rai about the potential repercussions of the passing of a draft sports law which could reduce the role of CONI in Italian sport. 

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is concerned the law would constitute Government interference in a National Olympic Committee, strictly prohibited under the Olympic Charter, and has raised doubts about the autonomy of CONI.

Malagò has claimed the IOC is set to decide on possible sanctions at its next Executive Board meeting on January 27. 

 In September, IOC President Thomas Bach warned the organisation was "very concerned about the situation and the functioning of the CONI".

Malagò, who recently had a meeting with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to discuss the situation, has urged the Government to find a solution to the dispute.

"The risk of going to Tokyo without an anthem and a flag is very high," he said. 

"Nobody wants sanctions, it would be scary.  

"We hope that those who have the honour and responsibility to find the solution, at least keep their word, because by now everyone knows the risk we run."

The Italian Parliament approved the law which created a Government-controlled organisation established to distribute funds to the country's national governing bodies in late 2018. 

The new body, "Sport e Salute" - or Sport and Health - reduces CONI's role to only handling preparation for the Olympic Games.

IOC President Thomas Bach has previously expressed his concerns about the draft sports law ©Getty Images
IOC President Thomas Bach has previously expressed his concerns about the draft sports law ©Getty Images

Term limits could also be introduced to CONI as part of the new regulations. 

Italian Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora wrote to the IOC in November, insisting that CONI would still have "autonomy" should the law be passed. 

This is unlikely to appease the IOC, however, which had sent a stern letter to CONI in 2019 - just two months after Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo were awarded the 2026 Winter Olympics and Paralympics - threatening a possible suspension if drastic changes were not made to the law.

The Russian flag and anthem will be absent from Tokyo 2020, although this is due to sanctions imposed for doping violations rather than Government interference. 

The Olympics are scheduled to run from July 23 to August 8 after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the postponement of the Games to 2021. 

It will be Italy's 28th appearance at the Olympics. 

The country earned eight gold medals, 12 silver and eight bronze at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.