IOC recommends return of Russia and Belarus to sport

IOC recommends return of Russia and Belarus to sport

Das International Olympic Committee (I.O.C) on Tuesday took a step towards allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics and the Milan and Cortina 2026 Winter Games. Accordingly, the exclusion of athletes from Russia and Belarus, which was decreed in February last year because of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, is to be lifted in all Olympic sports in order to allow individual and neutral athletes.

In general, teams as well as athletes and supervisors who work for the military or other security forces should remain excluded Russia and Belarus belong. The exclusion of state and government representatives remains in place. Athletes may only participate if they meet all of the doping control requirements. No national symbols such as flags, coats of arms and anthems may be associated with the participation of the neutral athletes; this refers to the entire sports facility, i.e. including the audience.

Bach against political interference in sport

So far, athletes from Russia and Belarus have been banned from international competitions in most sports because of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine and the support of Belarus in this, on the recommendation of the IOC. Boxers and fencers were the first to have them reinstated. Bach had encouraged them to do so, noting that these athletes should also have a chance to qualify for Paris 2024. The world federation of track and field athletes who practice a core sport Olympias, maintains the exclusion of Russians and Belarusians.

In the press conference after the meeting of the Executive Committee in Lausanne, Bach repeatedly emphasized that this decision does not refer to the Olympic Games. This was not the case either in the hearings or in the consultations with the National Olympic Committees, the professional associations and the athletes. Rather, the IOC is responding to the request of the December 2022 Olympic Summit to show a way for the return of Russians and Belarusians to international sport in order to harmonize the efforts of the individual associations. The IOC will make the decision on Paris in due course. It reserves the right to make free decisions about this, regardless of whether the associations have fulfilled the qualification criteria.

Bach pointed to the $7.5 million IOC Solidarity Fund for Ukrainian Athletes; more than 3000 athletes and coaches would be supported from it. The Executive Committee once again condemned Russia’s war against Ukraine. Bach firmly opposed the interference of politics in sport. If governments decide who can start or not, it will be the end of world sport. The majority of the 70 warring factions in the world, Bach explained, respected the Olympic Charter and did not demand the exclusion of their war opponents.

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