(Reuters) – The World Olympians Association (WOA) expressed concern on Tuesday about the potential impact U.S. President Donald Trump’s travel ban on visitors from some Muslim-majority nations could have on athletes and urged a quick resolution.
The WOA, which serves as the member organization for the more than 120,000 Olympians worldwide, wants to ensure the right of athletesto compete is protected in the wake of Trump’s controversial immigration order.
“Like many across the world, the WOA is concerned about the impact of the recent executive order on immigration signed by President Trump,” WOA President Joël Bouzou said in a statement.
“We have specific concerns in relation to the impact this could have on certain athletes who may be restricted in their ability to train and compete in the United States over the next three months.”
By executive order on Friday, Trump banned immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries – Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen – and temporarily halted the entry of refugees.
The U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) said on Monday they were told by the U.S. government that Trump’s ban should not impact athletes traveling to the United States for international events.
According to the USOC, the U.S. government told them it would work to ensure athletes from all countries would have expedited access to the United States for international competitions.
But the WOA wants a formal resolution put in place.
“We note (yesterday’s) statement from the United States Olympic Committee providing assurance that athletes will be able to visit and compete in the United States but we urge the relevant U.S. authorities to urgently put in place a formal resolutionto ensure the right of athletes to compete and train in the USA is properly protected,” said Bouzou.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Andrew Both)