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About 30 countries call on International Olympic Committee to suspend Russians and Belarusians

Monday, 20 February 2023, 19:54

Governments of almost 30 countries, including France who is the host country of 2024 Summer Olympics, have called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to suspend sportsmen from Russia and Belarus from participating in the Olympics because of issues with the clarity of their "neutrality".

Source: Politico citing a statement of almost 30 countries to the IOC, reported by European Pravda

Details: The IOC has said it would explore a pathway for Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in Paris under neutral flags, a move that triggered outrage in Kyiv – and has now been met with a concrete response among Ukraine’s allies.


About 30 countries have pointed out the connection between sports and soldiers in Russia and Belarus. 

Quote from the statement: "As long as these fundamental issues and the substantial lack of clarity and concrete detail on a workable ‘neutrality’ model are not addressed, we do not agree that Russian and Belarusian athletes should be allowed back into competition."

More details: In addition, "in Russia and Belarus sport and politics are closely intertwined," the countries said. 

Amid Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ongoing brutality in Ukraine, "there is no practical reason to move away from the exclusion regime for Russian and Belarusian athletes set by the IOC in their statement of 28 February 2022," the statement said.

"We have strong concerns on how feasible it is for Russian and Belarusian Olympic athletes to compete as ‘neutrals’ – under the IOC’s conditions of no identification with their country – when they are directly funded and supported by their states (unlike, for example, professional tennis players)," the statement added.

"The strong links and affiliations between Russian athletes and the Russian military are also of clear concern," the countries said. 

"Our collective approach throughout has therefore never been one of discrimination simply on the basis of nationality, but these strong concerns need to be dealt with by the IOC."

Representatives of the German, British and American governments are signatories to the letter, but it is France’s inclusion that will cause the IOC its biggest headache, with Paris set to host the Olympics for the first time since 1924.

Other signatories include: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

Background: Baltic countries and Poland officially asked the IOC not to let Russians and Belarusians take part in the Olympics. Austria also advocated against the participation of Russians and Belarusians in the 2024 Olympics.

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