Serbia tells athletes to avoid Kosovo flag, anthem

Published On: August 7, 2016 06:08 PM NPT By: Associated Press

RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug 7: Serbia has advised its athletes competing at the Rio Olympics to withdraw from any medal award ceremonies if they have to share the podium with athletes from breakaway Kosovo.

Serbia has never recognized Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence from it.

Serbian Sports Minister Vanja Udovicic says Sunday on the state TV website that the final decision is up to the athletes themselves, while the government has issued only a recommendation. Udovicic concedes that the issue is "complex."

Kosovo was officially recognized by the International Olympic Committee in 2014. It has sent eight athletes to Rio, some of whom competed for Albania at the 2012 London Olympics.

Udovicic says Serbia's government didn't want to undermine its athletes but "we cannot listen to the (Kosovo) anthem and watch their flag."


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