Kosovo Olympic Committee calls for disciplinary action against Novak Djokovic

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

On Monday, Djokovic left a political message on a camera lens at the French Open in response to the violent clashes in Kosovo, writing: “Kosovo is the (heart symbol) of Serbian. Let’s stop the violence” in Serbian.

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

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

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

Tensions have risen over the past 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 at a press conference this week: “It’s the least I could do. I feel the responsibility as a public figure – it doesn’t matter in what field – to give 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 even think about many others, what the future holds for Kosovo and for Serbian people, but it is necessary to show support and show unity in these kinds of situations”,

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

Djokovic writes a message on a camera lens 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 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 can be used as a platform for political messages”.

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

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

Djokovic plays this Wednesday in the second round of the French Open against Hungarian Márton Fucsovics.

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

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