Olympics: IOC suspends North Korea until end of 2022 for skipping Tokyo Games

IOC president Thomas Bach was speaking at a news conference on Wednesday
IOC president Thomas Bach was speaking at a news conference on Wednesday

North Korea has been suspended from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) until the end of 2022 after failing to send a team to the Tokyo Games.

The suspension means the country will miss out on the Beijing Winter Games.

North Korea did not send a delegation to the Tokyo Games, saying it wanted to protect its athletes from Covid-19.

IOC president Thomas Bach said the North Korean Olympic Committee would not receive financial aid during the suspension.

Bach added that the IOC reserved the right to make decisions on any individual North Korean athletes who qualify for Beijing 2022 and to reconsider the duration of the country’s suspension.

Bach also confirmed that none of the athletes representing Afghanistan at the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics – five in the Olympics and two Para-athletes – returned home.

“As a result of all our efforts, all athletes from Afghanistan, who participated at the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 are outside the country,” he said.

“Two winter sports athletes are also outside the country and continue training, hoping to qualify for Beijing 2022.

“Furthermore, a significant number of members of the Olympic community in Afghanistan received humanitarian visas and could leave the country.”

He said around a hundred people in Afghanistan had “enjoyed the benefits of their efforts” and that the IOC was continuing to assist others who are trying to flee the country.

Bach was also asked about the possibility of a biennial World Cup, which Fifa is thought to be pushing. A tournament every two years would mean a clash with the summer Olympics and Bach admitted the IOC was following the discussions with interest.

“We trust Fifa and the continental associations will come to the right decision,” he said.

Sourced from BBC Sports

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