SEOUL, December 7. /TASS/. Seoul welcomes Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to allow athletes willing to compete as neutrals to participate in the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said in a statement received by the Seoul office of TASS.
The ministry stressed that it welcomed the Russian president’s statement, in which he said that Russia’s authorities would not prevent athletes from taking part in the Olympics as neutrals. The final decision concerning the participation of Russian athletes will be made at the national Olympic meeting scheduled to be held on December 12.
According to the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the active participation of athletes from all countries, including Russia, may help the Olympic Games become a success. The ministry pointed out that Russian athletes who would take part in the Olympics were sure to receive the same support from the South Korean government as national teams of other countries.
On Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced its decision to suspend the Russian Olympic Committee, banning the national team from participating in the 2018 Olympic Games in South Korea. The IOC accused Russia of systematic violations of anti-doping rules, particularly during the 2014 Sochi Olympics. At the same time, the IOC intends to respect the rights of clean athletes, allowing them to participate in the upcoming games as "Olympic Athletes of Russia."
The Winter Olympic Games in South Korea’s Pyeongchang will be held on February 9-25, 2018.