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IOC may harm global sports’ unity staying mum on Russia’s 2024 Olympics participation

The president of the Russian Olympic Committee deems inconsistent an increased number of statements regarding the participation of Russia and Belarus in international tournaments

MOSCOW, August 18. /TASS/. The lack of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) involvement regarding the issue of Russian and Belarusian athletes’ participation in international tournaments harms the integrity of the Olympic Movement, President of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) Stanislav Pozdnyakov said on Friday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin stated on August 16 that global sports organizations were degrading due to their politicization and commercialization, therefore, an emergence of parallel structures in the sphere of international sports was inevitable.

"We have heard recently an increased number of statements on behalf of foreign sports and political figures regarding the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in international tournaments, including next year's [2024 Paris Summer] Olympics," Pozdnyakov said in a statement on his Telegram social network account.

"Most of these statements, particularly voiced by Ukrainian [sports] officials, are inconsistent and sometimes resemble a delirious nonsense," the ROC chief said. "They [Ukrainian sports officials] used to announce boycotts, bar their athletes from competing internationally, then would suddenly allow athletes to compete but under certain conditions, and finally come up with some kind of an anti-Russian coalition."

"Unfortunately, Lausanne [where the IOC is headquartered] does not react. It simply bites its tongue. They just keep swerving further away from the sports in general and the intended unifying mission [of sports], which at all times has been called upon to serve the cause of Peace and mutual understanding," Pozdnyakov stated.

"Sports should remain outside the politics in order to be developing on its own regardless of all of the voiced rhetoric and attempts to use it immediately under the political pretext," the IOC chief continued. "However, this is what is exactly happening within the International Olympic Committee and the organization’s movement."

"Its [IOC’s] foundations are undermined by the lack of autonomy, politicization of decisions and disregard for the principles of the Olympic Charter favoring anti-Russia’s pre-ordered policies," Pozdnyakov said.

"The majority of our colleagues from Lausanne assumed an open stance regarding the political conflict and resorting to their actions and rhetoric they are now destroying the integrity of the Olympic movement," the ROC chief said.

"At the same time, true Olympic principles and values are not only still relevant, but are in demand now more than ever. First of all, it is for the benefit of athletes who ended up under the pressure of blatant discrimination, double standards, arbitrariness and lawlessness," Pozdnyakov added.

Paris is scheduled to host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games between July 26 and August 11, 2024.

The National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Ukraine repeatedly stated on previous occasions that it may opt to boycott the Paris Olympics if Russian and Belarusian athletes were cleared to compete.

The Ukrainian Youth and Sports Ministry announced its decision on April 18 to strip the country’s national sports federations of their licenses if athletes under their jurisdiction compete in the same international tournaments with athletes representing Russia and Belarus. However, the ministry later scrapped this decision, acknowledging that Russian and Belarusian athletes are entitled to compete in international tournaments but only under a neutral status.

On February 28, 2022, the International Olympic Committee (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.

Following the IOC’s recommendations in late February 2022, the majority of global sports federations decided to bar athletes from Russia and Belarus from all international sports tournaments.

At its session on January 25, 2023, the IOC Executive Board put forward a proposal to permit individual athletes from Russia and Belarus to take part in international sports tournaments, but only under certain conditions. Specifically, athletes from the two countries should not be "actively supporting" Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine and must compete under a neutral status.