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Russia’s sports minister slams IOC president’s remark on neutrality of Russian athletes

According to Oleg Matytsin, the proposal put forward by President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach runs counter to Olympic principles

KAZAN, October 1. /TASS/. The proposal put forward by President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach to give access to international tournaments to those Russian athletes who have distanced themselves from the special military operation in Ukraine runs counter to Olympic principles, Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin told reporters on Saturday.

In an interview with Corriere della Sera on Friday, Bach said that those Russian athletes who had distanced themselves from the special military operation in Ukraine should be able to compete under a neutral flag.

"Bach’s latest remark contradicts Olympic principles, for the key task of the international Olympic movement has been to ensure equal access of athletes to Olympic games regardless of their opinions, traditions, faith or citizenship," Matytsin said. "We will continue our dialogue with the IOC, and hopefully their position will change. That would benefit international sport, for it will not be able to develop successfully without Russia," he concluded.

In late February, the IOC recommended sports federations not to allow the participation of Russian athletes in competitions over the situation in Ukraine. The recommendation was adopted by many sports federations, while Russia was deprived of the right to host various tournaments.