Kosovo Olympic Committee calls for disciplinary action against Novak Djokovic

(CNN) — The Kosovo Olympic Committee (COK) has called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to take disciplinary action against Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic.

On Monday, Djokovic left a political message on the lens of a television camera at Roland Garros in response to the violent clashes in Kosovo, writing: “Kosovo is the (heart symbol) of Serbia. Stop the violence.” in Serbian.

In a letter written by COK President Ismet Krasniqi and addressed to the IOC, the COK said Djokovic’s message “violates the fundamental principle of the IOC letter on the point of political neutrality and constitutes another political statement in sport. “.

CNN has reached out to Djokovic’s representation for comment.

The KOC claimed that Djokovic “once again promoted Serbian nationalist propaganda and used the sports platform to do so”, thus increasing “the level of tension and violence between the two countries, Kosovo and Serbia”. .

Tensions rose last week in Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008. Clashes erupted with protesters on Monday after ethnic Albanian mayors took office in northern Kosovo, a majority area. The Serbs had boycotted.

Djokovic explained his message in Serbian during a press conference this week: “It’s the least I can do. I feel responsible as a public figure – no matter in what field – to give my support.

“Especially as the son of a man born in Kosovo, I feel the need to support our people and all of Serbia. I don’t know, and I don’t think many others either, what the future holds for Kosovo and Serbia. people, but you have to show support and unity in these kinds of situations,”

Djokovic writes a message on the lens of a television camera at Roland-Garros.  (Photo: Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

Djokovic writes a message on the lens of a television camera at Roland-Garros. (Photo: Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

Djokovic’s reference to “the whole of Serbia” reflects the policy of the Serbian government, which continues to consider Kosovo as an integral part of its territory and has not recognized the country’s independence.

Krasniqi warned that failure to take action against Djokovic “would set a dangerous precedent that sport could be used as a platform for political messages”.

He added: “I respectfully urge the IOC to respond within its framework and ask the ITF to follow the principles governed by the Olympic Charter and investigate this matter by initiating disciplinary proceedings against the athlete.”

CNN reached out to the ITF and the IOC for comment on the matter, but did not immediately respond.

Djokovic plays this Wednesday the second round of Roland-Garros against the Hungarian Márton Fucsovics.

CNN’s George Ramsay and Sammy Mncwabe contributed to the article.

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