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Russia’s speed skating chief calls out global sports establishment

Nikolay Gulyayev stressed that sports’ politicization has hit rock bottom already

MOSCOW, October 7. /TASS/. Nikolay Gulyayev, president of the Russian Speed Skating Union (RSSU), told journalists on Friday that sports has become dependent on and tied to politics.

Last week, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach announced that Russian athletes, who decided to distance themselves from their country’s special military operation in Ukraine, should be allowed to participate in international sports tournaments in a neutral-status capacity.

"I would really rather abstain from commenting on Bach’s statement, because it is not really worth listening to what global sports officials are saying," Gulyayev insisted. "And I don't see any point in distracting athletes with such questions, who are now minding their own business," he asserted.

"They say that sports is beyond politics. But sports’ politicization has hit rock bottom already," he maintained.

On February 28, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued recommendations to international sports federations to bar athletes from Russia and Belarus from taking part in international tournaments referring to a special military operation in Ukraine.

Following the IOC’s recommendations in late February, the majority of global sports federations decided to bar athletes from Russia and Belarus from all international sports tournaments.

On March 1, the International Skating Union announced a decision to provisionally suspend all athletes from Russia and Belarus. The suspension was enforced in regard to figure skating, speed skating and short-track speed skating competitions.