Israel Kay-oed from Asian Games
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Israel Kay-oed from Asian Games

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Juan Antonio Samaranch, president of the International Olympic Committee, is unhappy with the prohibition of Israel from participation in the Asian Games, now under way here. But he says he understands why the ban was imposed.

“I am not satisfied, but I am aware of the reasons for barring Israel,” he said at a press conference here Sunday. “Israel is a full member of the International Olympic Committee and will be invited to the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 1984 and to the 1988 competition slated for Seoul, South Korea,” Samaranch stated. He did not specify what he thought the reasons were for excluding Israel from the present contest.

Officials here responsible for organizing the Asian Games have stated repeatedly that the problem is security. In that connection they cite the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics in Munich by Palestinian terrorists. But others have indicated that the real reason for barring Israel is the $10 million grant given to India by Kuwait to help underwrite the costs of the Asian Games.

Meanwhile, the Olympic flag is flying from Nehru Stadium in acknowledgment of Samaranchs presence in India’s capital. This is incongruous because the Olympic Committee which he heads has not recognized or extended patronage to the Asian Games because Israel was excluded, in violation of the Olympic charter. The charter states specifically that the organizers of regional games such as the Asian Games, must invite every nation in the region involved.

Samaranch indicated that the rule concerning invitations to all nations in a given region for a regional sports event would in all likelihood be changed when the International Olympic Committee meets in New Delhi next March.

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