The Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) yesterday expressed concern about the diplomatic crisis revolving around Qatar, stressing that politics and sports must stay separate.
In a statement, the Switzerland-based organisation “expressed its hope that the international sports movement in Qatar would not be endangered by the geopolitical situation in the Gulf region”.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain were among the countries that cut ties with Qatar earlier this month.
“The Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) and the neighbouring National Olympic Committees in the Gulf region are valuable partners to the world’s Olympic Movement and have significantly developed sports in their countries in recent years,” the statement noted.
It continued, “Sport has also played a key role in opening up the region to the world. Last year, the QOC brought together the world’s NOCs in Doha and hosted a fantastic ANOC General Assembly and ANOC Awards.
“Under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, Qatar has shown itself to be a very willing and capable host of international sports events and will bring the world back to the region when it hosts the 2019 IAAF World Championships, the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the 2023 FINA World Championships and other international sports events.”
“Sport must be separate from politics in this Gulf issue,” the association stressed.
The ANOC, headed by Kuwait’s Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah - whose country has not backed the blockade - said it “sincerely hopes that the geopolitical situation regarding Qatar will be resolved soon and that it won’t impact on the incredible value that Qatar brings to the sports world”. (AFP)
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