The KOC has urged the IOC and ITF to punish Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic for his actions.
On Monday, during the French Open, Djokovic wrote a political statement on a TV camera lens in response to the violent clashes in Kosovo. The message, written in Serbian, stated: “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia. End the violence.”
KOC President Ismet Krasniqi wrote a letter to the IOC stating that Djokovic’s message violated the IOC charter’s principle of political neutrality and made a political statement in the context of sports.
CNN has contacted Djokovic’s representatives for a statement.
According to the KOC, Djokovic once again supported and spread Serbian nationalist ideas through his use of the sports platform. This has led to increased tension and violence between Kosovo and Serbia.
In the last week, there has been an increase in tensions in Kosovo, a country that declared independence from Serbia in 2008. On Monday, there were protests and conflicts due to the installation of ethnically Albanian mayors in the predominantly Kosovo Serb region of northern Kosovo. These mayors were elected in April, but Kosovo Serbs had chosen to boycott the elections.
At a recent press conference, Djokovic expanded on his statement in Serbian, stating: “This is the minimum I could do. As a public figure, regardless of my profession, I believe it is my duty to provide support.”
As the son of a Kosovo-born man, I feel it is important to show my support for our people and for all of Serbia. The future of Kosovo and its people is uncertain, but it is crucial to come together and show unity in times like these.
Djokovic’s mention of “the entirety of Serbia” aligns with the stance of the Serbian government, which maintains that Kosovo is an inseparable part of its land and has not acknowledged its sovereignty.
Krasniqi cautioned that not taking action against Djokovic could establish a hazardous precedent of using sports as a means for conveying political messages.
He stated: “I respectfully request that the IOC takes action within its guidelines and asks the ITF to adhere to the principles set by the Olympic Charter. This matter should be investigated through disciplinary proceedings against the athlete.”
The Kosovo Tennis Federation’s letter has been received and acknowledged by the ITF. It has been passed on to the appropriate Grand Slam authority.
The guidelines for player behavior at a Grand Slam tournament are determined by the official Grand Slam rulebook, which is overseen by the appropriate organizer and regulator. This rulebook does not contain any restrictions against making political statements.
According to the IOC, the French Open is organized by the appropriate grand slam governing body and adheres to their regulations.
According to the statement, the players are only under the IOC’s authority during the Olympic Games.
On Wednesday, Djokovic will compete against Hungary’s Márton Fucsovics in the second round of the French Open.
Reporting was contributed by George Ramsay and Sammy Mncwabe from CNN.