Spain's General Union of Workers (UGT) and Workers' Commissions Union (CCOO) "are with Madrid 2020," according to José Félix Diaz of EL CONFIDENCIAL. Both parties made their support for the Olympic bid clear Monday morning at the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE)'s headquarters. UGT Secretary General Cándido Méndez and CCOO Secretary General Ignacio Fernández Toxo joined COE President Alejandro Blanco, staging the social support for the Olympic project. Blanco said, "It is a demonstration of more popular support than the bid counted on." Méndez defended the Games for what they could mean for Spain. Méndez: "UGT supports the candidacy. We know the importance that it has for Spain that they give us the Olympics and what it could mean. It could be so crucial that everything changes. It will improve the international protection for our country in a moment in which our image is being shaken. The bias and misleading information on what happens in this country, like for example the latest information appearing in the London Telegraph and Germany's Der Spiegel, they are not true." Toxo thanked Blanco for approaching the unions. Toxo said, "If Madrid becomes the Olympic site, it will be good news for everyone. It is a project of a country, of the whole Spanish society, like what happened in Barcelona [during the 1992 Olympics.] Those Games served to leave behind the struggles we were suffering. The self-esteem was raised at all levels. The successes of Spanish sport arrive thanks to its structure. Spain needs an impact program to boost the economy, the employment. There is a need and the Games can serve as a starting point" (EL CONFIDENCIAL, 5/13).
The Kremlin announced Monday that Russian President Vladimir Putin "has signed a decree waiving the visa requirement for foreign athletes, coaches and other staff" attending int'l sports events in Russia, according to Ria Novosti of the MOSCOW NEWS. Athletes are to pour into Russia over the next five years, "with next year's Winter Olympics in Sochi and the 2018 football World Cup the two biggest draws." A Kremlin statement said, "Participants in international sporting competition … can enter and exit the Russian Federation without applying for visas on the basis of existing documents that confirm their identity and are accepted by the Russian Federation." The decree "goes into effect immediately" (MOSCOW NEWS, 5/13). REUTERS' Gennady Fyodorov wrote the government would publish a list of int'l sporting events and regulations "on how long foreigners may remain in the country." The Kremlin added that participants "must carry a valid passport and official accreditation from local organizers to qualify for visa-free status" (REUTERS, 5/13).
Amateur boxing could lose more than £10M ($15M) of its funding in the lead up to the Rio 2016 Olympics "due to an increasingly-bitter dispute" between the British Amateur Boxing Association and the Scottish Amateur Boxing Association (BOX REC, 5/12). ... Top Indian Olympic Association delegates "were busy giving finishing touches to their action plan as they geared up for the crucial meeting" with the IOC in Lausanne, Switzerland to draw a roadmap for India's return to the Olympic fold (PTI, 5/13). ... Qatar Olympic Committee Secretary General Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman al-Thani met Saturday with British Olympic Association Chair Sebastian Coe. The two sides "reviewed aspects of sports cooperation between the two countries," discussing plans and mechanisms needed to activate the mutual cooperation as part of the memorandum of understanding they signed two years ago (GULF TIMES, 5/12). ... The National Olympic Committee of Cambodia is set to sign a memorandum of understanding with local beverage company Cambrew on Wednesday that will see medal winners at the 2013 Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar this December "bank sizable cash bonuses." Gold medalists in Myanmar will be granted $6,000 from the company, "whose major brand is Angkor Beer." Silver medals will earn $4,000 and bronze $2,000 (PHNOM PENH POST, 5/13).