US, Allies Against Russia And Belarus Competing In Olympics
The United States and its 33 allied nations have called on the International Olympic Committee not to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in Paris Olympics.
Changing its original recommendation of February 2022, the IOC decided last month to consider allowing individual athletes from Russia and Belarus to take part in international sports competitions as neutral athletes.
The Special Rapporteurs of the United Nations Human Rights Council supported that decision and urged IOC to ensure the non-discrimination of any athlete on the basis of their nationality.
A meeting of ministers and senior representatives from a collective group of nations, joined by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, agreed that the IOC’s proposal on exploring a pathway back to competition for individual Russian and Belarusian athletes raises many questions and concerns.
They noted that the situation on the ground in Ukraine has only worsened since IOC’s original decision. Sports training facilities in Ukraine have been destroyed and many Ukrainian athletes have had to leave their country. Some of those who stayed to fight for the defense of Ukraine have lost their lives. In this context, there is no practical reason to move away from the exclusion regime for Russian and Belarusian athletes set by the IOC in their statement of 28 February 2022, the ministers said.
They also noted that through their choices, action and ongoing invasion Russia broke the Olympic Truce.
“In Russia and Belarus sport and politics are closely intertwined. We have strong concerns on how feasible it is for Russian and Belarusian Olympic athletes to compete as ‘neutrals’ – under the IOC’s conditions of no identification with their country – when they are directly funded and supported by their states (unlike, for example, professional tennis players),” the statement says.
Noting the IOC’s stated position that no final decisions have been made, the group of nations strongly urged the administrative body of the Olympic Games to address the questions identified by all countries and reconsider its proposal accordingly.
Ministers or their equivalents from Austria, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States have signed the statement.
After doping charges against its athletes, Russia was banned from participating in Tokyo Olympics, held in July-August 2021.
However, hundreds of Russian sportspersons took part in the competitions. But they were not allowed to use their country’s name, flag, and anthem, and competed under the acronym ROC, which stands for Russian Olympic Committee.
The Next Olympic Games are scheduled to be held in Paris from 26 July to 11 August 2024.
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