Mameli’s Hymn and the Italian flag are safe: Italy will go to the 2021 Olympics
Until 27 January, Italy held its breath waiting for the final decision of Conte’s administration, which would sanction Italy’s participation in or exclusion from the 2021 Olympic Games, scheduled for this summer in Tokyo.
On 26 January, exactly the day before the deadline of the ultimatum issued by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Council of Ministers approved the decree-law that returns autonomy to the Coni (Italian National Olympic Committee).
After two years of internal debates Giuseppe Conte, who signed the decree-law shortly before his resignation, decided to solve the issue, which worried not only the Coni, but also every athlete in Italy who should participate in the Games.
Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee since 2013, was seriously worried about Italy’s possible exclusion from the Olympics and in 2019 he had already urged Conte to rectify the question of Coni’s autonomy.
If Coni had not been made autonomous again by 27 January, Italy would have been sanctioned by the IOC because of its violation of article 27 of the Olympic Charter.
Also Coni’s president Giovanni Malagò had demanded the government to rethink Coni’s structure, both as far as financial autonomy and the number of employees and estates are concerned.
The Italian National Olympic Committee’s independence had been compromised by the sport reform sought by Conte’s administration, which had created quite a stir in the world of sport and politics from its start.
According to Repubblica, Thomas Bach considers himself satisfied by the outgoing administration’s last-minute decision: “I am happy for all the Italian athletes: I think my appreciation of Italian sport and athletes is well-known, like many others in the world they have reacted to the pandemic and fought against the virus, encouraging the population".
Always according to Repubblica, Coni has reacquired 165 employees and its estates thanks to the ratification of the long-awaited decree: the Olympic Training Centres of Formia and Tirrenia, the detached house of Foro Italico and the sport centre in Acqua Acetosa (Rome).
Italy can officially participate in the 2021 Olympics with its own anthem and flag, making it possible for every Italian athlete to go to Tokyo, in accordance with sanitary and safety norms.
In addition, if Italy had been sanctioned by the IOC, the 2026 Milano-Cortina Winter Olympic Games would have been questioned as well. Instead, Italy saved itself just in time, once again.