Kosovo has been denied visas for the IBA Men's World Boxing Championships in Uzbekistan ©Getty Images

The Kosovo Olympic Committee (KOK) has accused the International Boxing Association (IBA) of "doing nothing" after boxers from the country missed out on a third consecutive World Boxing Championships.

Uzbekistan does not recognise Kosovo's independence and boxers from the country were denied visa in the last minute.

It was a similar story during the Women's World Boxing Championships in New Delhi in March, as world bronze medallist Donjeta Sadiku could not participate in the tournament.  

The IBA had faced criticism from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in October 2021, when it was accused of failing to conduct "necessary due diligence" on the awarding of the Men's World Championships to Belgrade in Serbia.

Kosovo was refused entry to Serbia, which it had declared independence from in 2008, on at least three occasions.

Despite getting the green signal for a visa to compete in India, Sadiku withdrew, with KOK accusing organisers of imposing "discriminatory" restrictions.  

KOK claimed  that under the conditions, the Kosovo flag and national anthem would "not be used in any manner or at any ceremony" and participants from the country "would not be allowed to carry their flag or use outfits with their flag printed on them".

Sadiku was also refused a visa to enter India for the 2018 World Boxing Championships, also held in New Delhi.

"For the third time in a row, Kosovo's boxing team lost the World Boxing Championships, due to politics," a KOK statement to insidethegames said.

"We are very concerned with the situation, because our boxers are being discriminated against by the host countries and the IBA is doing nothing in this process.

"Kosovo's Boxing Federation has been waiting for a visa since March 2023, and they received a phone call late Saturday from the IBA office, that they can travel to Uzbekistan.

"This was unacceptable, because the draw was on Sunday, the fights started on Monday, while our team was expected to arrive on Monday afternoon!

"As Kosovo Olympic Committee we can't understand how it is possible that IBA is giving the host to the countries, who don't recognise Kosovo Indenpendence, and for more, they didn't ask for a guarantee by Uzbekistan to permit all participants.

"Our boxers are very desperate.

"They have trained for months for this event.

"They lost the chance to realise their dreams of winning world medals for the third time, after Serbia 2021 WWCH, India WWCH 2023 and now in Tashkent."

Kosovo's Donjeta Sadiku was unable to take part in this year's Women's World Boxing Championships in New Delhi after her visa was denied by India ©IBA
Kosovo's Donjeta Sadiku was unable to take part in this year's Women's World Boxing Championships in New Delhi after her visa was denied by India ©IBA

The KOK was recognised by the IOC in 2014.

But Serbia continues to view Kosovo as an autonomous part of its own country, and there is division in the international community over its recognition.

"As concerns Kosovo, we did all necessary to obtain the visa but the country authorities didn’t approve it," IBA secretary general George Yerolimpos told insidethegames.

"It is out of our power."

A Local Organising Committee (LOC) official claimed the visa situation is not up to them.

"The LOC tried to accommodate countries even after the deadline for registration," the official said.

"The visa is something that the Ministry of Foreign Affair handles."