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IOC allowing Russians to change nationality out of bounds — Russian Olympic chief

The IOC said earlier in a statement that the organization’s Executive Board accepted nine applications to change of nationality ahead of the 2024 Olympics in Paris

MOSCOW, November 30. /TASS/. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has violated the rules of the Olympic Charter by allowing Russian athletes to change nationalities, a huge abuse of its power, President of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) Stanislav Pozdnyakov said on Thursday.

"The Executive Committee of the Russian Olympic Committee did not consent to the transfer of the Russian nationals mentioned in the IOC statement to the jurisdiction of other national committees," Pozdnyakov stated on his Telegram channel. "We consider it inadmissible to indulge in arbitrarily and selectively interpreting the Olympic Charter."

"The aggressive anti-Russian stance of destructive elements in the Olympic Movement keeps sterilizing international sports from political neutrality, but in return ‘allows’ functionaries to ignore and violate international law, their own regulations and common sense," he continued.

"Just think about it, a single sports organization has come to the point where it assumes the right, beyond its own jurisdiction, of imposing sanctions against sovereign countries, while possessing neither formal status nor even some signs of being a subject of the system of international relations," the ROC chief said.

The IOC said on Wednesday in a statement that the organization’s Executive Board accepted nine applications to change nationality ahead of the 2024 Olympics in Paris. There were three Russian athletes on the list moving to other national teams, cyclist Valeria Lyubimova going to France, cyclist Mikhail Yakovlev joining Israel and Greco-Roman wrestler Georgy Tibilov going to Serbia.

The IOC statement said that "The EB [Executive Board] granted the requested exemption for the three-year waiting period following the prior agreement of the respective International Federations and National Olympic Committees concerned," adding that the Russian Olympic Committee was currently suspended from the IOC.

"Just like in the case of the ROC’s suspension under a far-fetched pretext, another mockery of the Olympic Charter, we will demand legally justified explanations and will keep protecting our rights in line with established norms," ROC President Pozdnyakov added.

On October 12, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspended the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) until further notice after the Russian organization included the Olympic councils of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR), the Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions as its members.

The Swiss-based CAS registered on November 6 an appeal from the ROC against the IOC’s decision on the Russian governing Olympic body’s suspension.

The suspension means that the ROC cannot act as a national Olympic committee or receive financing from the Olympic movement. The IOC however reserved the right to clear Russian athletes to take part in the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024 as neutrals. Later, IOC President Thomas Bach said that Russian athletes should have no affiliation with the ROC if they want to compete at the Olympic Games.

IOC sanctions against Russia, Belarus

On February 28, 2022, the International Olympic Committee 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.

In late March, 2023, the IOC recommended 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. Russia and Belarus were also banned from participating in international team events.

On July 26, 2023, the IOC extended invitations to the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris to 203 National Olympic Committees. Russia and Belarus did not receive invitations. The IOC explained later that there was no deadline regarding the issue of Russian and Belarusian athletes’ participation.