Prague, Czech Republic – Czech sports teams competing in international events will from now on appear under the unified name of Czechia.
On Tuesday, the Czech Olympic Committee said it would send an official request to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to enter the new name in the international sports database.
“This is a formal step that can be implemented within a few weeks”, according to Roman Kumpošt, vice-president of the Czech Olympic Committee.
“Czechia” would thus replace “Czech Republic”, a move long called for by supporters of the former who argued that international sports competitions are a crucial soft power vehicle to increase recognition and awareness of the new name, especially among foreign audiences.
“Czechia” was adopted as the official name of the country in 2016, coming in addition to the longer and more widely used “Czech Republic”.
It has already been registered as such in international organisations like the UN or NATO, as well as by several national sports organisations, including ice hockey and basketball.
The official change could become effective from the next 2024 Paris Olympics, although some have warned that a transitional period was necessary to change sports equipment and promotional material.
Pickup has been slow, however, including from the successive Czech governments who have failed to consistently promote the use of Czechia in their English-language communication.
Public opinion on the matter is also split, and commonly leads to heated debates between supporters and opponents of the new brand.
Although the Czech Republic can be seen as too long, impractical and its use irrelevant (why talk about “the Czech Republic” on the one hand, but “Slovakia” rather than “the Slovak Republic” on the other?), Czechia has yet to conquer the hearts and tongues of both natives and foreigners living in the country.
For more on the topic, you can read our past interview with Petr Pavlinek from Civic Initiative Czechia.