IOC Statement


IOC Press Release - 24 July 2008

Despite the best efforts of the International Olympic Committee, it seems very unlikely that any Iraqi athlete will compete at the Beijing Olympic Games.

The IOC would like to see Iraq's athletes in Beijing, and is disappointed they have been so ill-served by their own government's actions. The deadline for taking up places for Beijing for all sports except athletics has now passed and as a result we must now reallocate a number of Iraq's qualified or invited quota places.

The IOC's executive board temporarily suspended the Iraqi National Olympic Committee on 4th June 2008, after the Iraqi Government dismissed the legitimate NOC and installed a new committee, chaired by its own Minister of Sport, which the IOC does not recognise.

The Olympic Charter forbids political interference in the Olympic Movement. Rule 28(9) of the Charter provides for the suspension of an NOC in the event that: "any governmental body…causes the activity of the NOC…to be hampered."

The Iraqi government was invited to come to Lausanne to discuss possible remedies, but did not positively respond to the IOC's invitation.

Over the last five years, the IOC and the wider Olympic family have provided funding and training opportunities to support the Iraqi NOC and more than 50 Iraqi athletes and coaches. The Iraqi government's actions have destroyed this progress.

The IOC will continue to search for ways to help Iraqi athletes and support the role of sports in a safe and peaceful Iraq.