WKF President Antonio Espinós has warned Spain's hosting of future major karate events is in serious jeopardy ©WKF

Spain hosting major karate events in the future is under serious threat after the country's Government refused to allow Kosovo to compete under their own flag at the World Championships here, World Karate Federation (WKF) President Antonio Espinós has warned.

Espinós told insidethegames that the WKF would have to "seriously consider the possibility of not coming to Spain" if the situation is not resolved as he criticised the Government for their decision to ban the Kosovan flag from the event.

The comments from the Spaniard suggest that two karate events due to be held in Spain next year - the European Championships in Guadalajara in March and December's Premier League in Madrid - are now in doubt. 

Espinós said the WKF "could not understand" why a similar agreement to the deal struck prior to this year's Mediterranean Games in Tarragona could not have been reached for the Karate World Championships.

Athletes from Kosovo are competing here but are doing so under the banner of the WKF, while they opted not to take part in the Opening Ceremony following the ruling from the Spanish Government, which does not recognise the state of Kosovo.

Kosovo participated at the Mediterranean Games, winning three gold medals, but their flag was prohibited from the Opening Ceremony.

Flagbearer Herolind Nishevci instead carried the banner of the Kosovo Olympic Committee, which bears a miniature version of the national flag set above the Olympic Rings.

"We do not understand why the special exception the Spanish Government made with Kosovo could not have happened here," Espinós told insidethegames.

"The same exception could have been very easy to do and allowed Kosovo athletes to participate under their symbols.

"But at the end, this is what happened and unfortunately we were not able to change the mind of the Spanish Government.

"For future events, we have to seriously consider the possibility of not coming to Spain because we cannot accept easily that the rights of one of our full members is refused."

Kosovo did not take part in the Opening Ceremony in Madrid yesterday ©WKF
Kosovo did not take part in the Opening Ceremony in Madrid yesterday ©WKF

Spain has so far proved unwilling to recognise Kosovo, who were twice barred from entering Serbia to compete at the European Karate Championships in Novi Sad in May.

The WKF not hosting events in the country would come as a blow to a nation where karate is growing in popularity.

This year's Karate World Championships are the third to be hosted in Madrid, following on from the 1980 and 2002 editions of the event.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has refused to condemn the decision from the Spanish Government, despite President Thomas Bach calling on sport to "show its teeth" by taking action to combat cases of countries restricting the way other nations participate at competitions on political grounds.

The IOC were involved in the talks with the WKF and the Spanish Government regarding the participation of Kosovo here.

"They were finding the same problems that we were finding," Espinós added.

"There is evidence that the IOC is trying its utmost to have Kosovo compete."