The IOC has formally barred North Korea from sending any athletes to compete in the 2022 Winter Olympic games in Beijing, according to NBC Sports.
The move comes after North Korea chose to not send athletes to the Tokyo games citing COVID-19 concerns. IOC President Thomas Bach had this to say on the decision:
“They were violating the Olympic Charter and did not fulfil their obligation as stated in the Olympic charter to participate.”
North Korea is effectively banned by the IOC until the end of 2022, and will not receive any financial compensation from the Tokyo games. That money, however, was already being withheld due to international sanctions against Kim Jong Un’s pursuit of nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles.
North Korea claims that the country is completely free of COVID-19 cases, and while experts are skeptical, it doesn’t appear that North Korea has had any large-scale outbreaks of the deadly disease since it’s onset in 2019.
North Korea sent athletes to the 2018 games in Pyeongchang, South Korea which marked a huge step forward in diplomatic relations for the warring countries. North and South Korean athletes walked into the games under a Unified Korea flag, and women from both countries competed on a joint ice hockey team.
It’s unclear if North Korea was planning on sending athletes to Beijing considering their absence in Tokyo, but the IOC has made sure that the hermit country is punished for their decision not to participate.