An easing of visa requirements for Europeans "is unlikely even for next year's Winter Olympics in Sochi, as officials from both Moscow and the EU insist on their positions," according to Nikolaus von Twickel of the MOSCOW TIMES. EU delegation spokesperson Soren Liborius said that a visa facilitation agreement "remains elusive as long as Moscow insists on a visa-waiver for government officials." An agreement guaranteeing certain professional groups like journalists and NGO workers long-term multiple entry visitors' visas "has been held up for more than a year since Moscow suddenly demanded to include visa-free travel for holders of so-called official passports." EU negotiators "have refused to discuss the issue, arguing that the number of passport holders remains unclear and that such passports, which are not diplomatic, do not exist in many EU member states" (MOSCOW TIMES, 2/19).
The IOC Coordination Commission for the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Games arrived in the host city to "help in the search" for where to play five Olympic sports, according to Vinicius Konchinski of UOL. Rio Local Organizing Committee CEO Sidney Levy said that "the deadline for the site of all Olympic sports" was supposed to be at the end of '12. However, the committee will continue discussions with int'l federations and possible competition sites to find appropriate venues for field hockey, rugby sevens, fencing, basketball and diving (UOL, 2/20).
Asian golfers will face drug tests for the first time in the run-up to the 2016 Rio Olympics but officials "played down the likelihood of a major problem despite serious scandals in other sports." Asian Tour Executive Chair Kyi Hla Han said that testing was yet to be introduced, but "could start next year" in tune with demands from the IOC (JAKARTA GLOBE, 2/20). ... The Sports Authority of India has recommended business class tickets for all six Indian medalists of the London Olympics (THE HINDU, 2/20). ... Japanese wrestling chiefs urged Olympic medalists all over the world "to join forces to save their sport from the chop at the 2020 Olympic Games." Int'l Wrestling Federation (FILA) VP Tomiaki Fukuda said that "he had proposed the lobbying plan in letters to all executives of the organization" (AFP, 2/20).