As originally reported by SwimSwam Italia’s Giusy Cisale, Italian athletes will be allowed to represent their country’s flag and national anthem during the 2021 Olympic Games following a decree restoring autonomy to the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI).
This follows a multi-year-long battle to overturn the original decree, which put the Italian Olympic committee under state control.
The Italian Minister of Sport Vincenzo Spadafora confirmed the news in a statement, “The Council of Ministers has approved the Decree containing the rules that sanction the autonomy of the Italian National Olympic Committee.
Now the last word belongs to Parliament in the conversion.
For the long and glorious sporting and democratic history of our country it was unlikely that Italy would be so severely sanctioned tomorrow.
Today’s decision dispels all doubts and solves the problem of the independence of the Coni left open by the 2019 reform.”
After the original decree was formalized in 2019, the International Olympic Committee formally sent a letter to the Italian Olympic Committee, raising doubts about the decree’s adherence to the Olympic Charter. In the letter, the IOC raised several doubts pertaining to the decree, including concerns about the anatomy of CONI. As a participant in the Olympic movement, all sports organizations must remain neutral. In its letter, the IOC also threatened the suspension of CONI from Olympic events.
There have been several reports about the ongoing situation pertaining to the situation since the IOC’s letter was sent. However, the possibility of sanctions seemed to only strike home on Monday when the head of CONI warned the Italian senate that the IOC was expected to levy harsh sanctions on Italy on January 27. The reported sanctions included banning the Italian flag and national anthem from the 2021 Olympic Games, in addition to barring any Italian athletes from competing under the Italian flag. Rather, they would have been forced to compete as independent athletes under the Olympic flag. Reports also indicated that the sanctions could extend to Italy’s host status for the 2026 Olympic Games in Milan-Cortina.