ST. PETERSBURG, June 16. /TASS/. The suggestion that Russian athletes compete in the Olympics as refugees is inadmissible and can only be the result of political pressure, Alexander Zhukov, the Honorary President of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), told TASS on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) on Friday.
On Thursday, the All Sport Info news portal reported that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) would allow Russia to compete in the 2024 Olympics as a team of refugees.
"This is simply unacceptable. They cannot destroy Russian sports, it is simply impossible. Such demands and attempts can only be motivated by political pressure," said Zhukov, who is also First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma (lower chamber of Russia’s parliament).
On February 28, 2022, the IOC issued recommendations to international sports federations to bar athletes from Russia and Belarus from taking part in international tournaments, citing Moscow’s special military operation in Ukraine as the reason. In March, the IOC Executive Committee put forward a proposal to permit individual athletes from Russia and Belarus to take part in international tournaments as neutrals, provided they did not actively support Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine.
Russia’s participation in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris will be decided no earlier than a year before the Games kick off.
The 26th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) — Russia’s showcase annual economic and business event — is being held on June 14-17. The theme of this year’s forum is: "Sovereign Development as the Basis of a Just World: Joining Forces for Future Generations." TASS is the official information partner of the event.