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  • Catalonia Federation Reportedly Eyes Tokyo Team


    10/10/17

    (ATR) The Union of Catalan Sports Federations is seeking recognition from international sports federations to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

    Catalonia is attempting to declare independence from Spain (Wikimedia Commons)
    UFEC President Gerard Esteva said in an interview with The Evening Standard that competing in the Tokyo Olympics must be a priority for the region if it declares independence.

    Catalonia leaders mulled unilaterally declaring independence from Spain after a referendum on the matter was stopped by Spanish courts. Catalans attempted to vote in the referendum regardless, leading to a tense showdown with Spanish security forces. Regional authorities declared that 90 percent of those who voted in the referendum voiced their will for an independent Catalonia.

    Carles Puigdemont, President of the government of Catalonia, said today that the region earned the right to declare independence, but said “weeks” were needed before beginning discussions with Madrid.

    Should Catalonia declare independence, it is unlikely that the international community would overwhelmingly recognize the new state. Without such political recognition, recognition by the IOC would not come, and no Olympic team.

    “The current Olympic Charter states that the IOC can only recognize a National Olympic Committee in each Independent State,” NOC relations director of the IOC Pere Miró told Around the Rings, last week. “Therefore we must wait to see how the situation in Catalonia evolves as a potential independent state.”

    Esteva said that Catalonia is currently “prepared to participate with full conditions,” at the Tokyo 2020 Games. To allow for Catalan athletes to do so the UFEC is working to gain recognition from international sport federations to compete under the Catalonia flag this Olympic cycle.

    The UFEC did not return requests for comment from ATR about whether or not the organization has sought recognition from the IOC.

    “This is our principle goal for the next Olympics in Japan 2020 and also for participating in international competitions,” Esteva said.

    “We know the way and we know we can do it and we are prepared for having the best team to participate in the Olympics. The best team for us obviously.”

    Written by Aaron Bauer

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