Lausanne - Italy's place at next year's Olympic Games in Tokyo is in danger
after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) warned the Italian
Olympic Committee (CONI) of "serious concerns" about a proposed new
The letter, which was addressed to CONI president Giovanni Malago and
has been seen by AFP, said the legislation "would clearly affect the
autonomy of CONI".
The letter, disclosed on Tuesday in the Corriere de la Serra newspaper,
recalled the fundamental principles of Olympism whereby membership of
the Olympic movement "requires compliance with the Olympic Charter and
recognition by the IOC."
James Macleod, director of Olympic Solidarity and NOC Relations, who
signed the letter, said the new legislation would not conform to the
He suggested amendments to the draft decree and emphasised that CONI
should not, as the draft law proposes, be reorganised by "unilateral
decison from the government."
"CONI should be an autonomous and legally independent organisation
governed primarily by the Olympic Charter and its own statutes, within
the framework of the applicable laws under which it is legally
registered in the country," he said.
Contacted by AFP, a CONI official said the situation was
"complicated" after Italy's parliament adopted framework legislation
late Tuesday following the publication of the letter.
The legislation authorises the government to bring in reforms to the
organisation of Olympic sport. But lawmakers insisted that the
independence of CONI would be respected.
"We succeeded in passing a non-binding resolution which authorises
the government to exercise its prerogatives while respecting the Olympic
Charter," Senator Claudio Barbora was quoted as saying by the Italian
Sports Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti, a close ally of deputy Prime
Minister Matteo Salvini, said the work of adopting formal legal decrees
"In the process we will clarify all misunderstandings as shown in the letter from the IOC official," he added.
Just a year ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, the IOC letter warned that
the IOC chiefs had the power to suspend or withdraw recognition of a
national Olympic committee (NOC) "if the constitution, law or other
regulations in force in the country concerned, or any act by any
governmental or other body causes the activity of the NOC or the making
or expression of its will to be hampered".
The IOC is proposing a meeting this week in Lausanne with CONI to "help resolve the issue".
The warning also comes less than two months after the Milan-Cortina
d'Ampezzo won the bid to host the 2026 Olympic Winter Games.
In 2015, in a case of government interference, the IOC suspended the
National Olympic Committee of Kuwait. Its athletes participated under a
neutral flag at the 2016 Rio Games. The suspension was lifted last