IOC unveils ‘recommendations’ for Russian and Belarusian athletes

IOC unveils ‘recommendations’ for Russian and Belarusian athletes
Fecha de publicación: 
28 March 2023
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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has stood by its plans to enable Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete as neutrals, unveiling a set of “recommendations” for them on Tuesday.

The IOC sanctioned Russia and Belarus after the beginning of the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev back in February 2022, but now wants the athletes back to compete as neutrals. International competitions, where athletes from the two countries still compete, show their participation “works,” the IOC president Thomas Bach argued. 

“The participation of athletes with Russian and Belarusian passports in international competitions works,” Bach said in his address before the IOC’s executive board meeting in Lausanne. “There have been no security incidents happening in any of these competitions,” he added.

The “recommendations” provided by the IOC for International Federations (IFs) urge them to allow “athletes with a Russian or a Belarusian passport” to compete under a neutral flag. At the same time, the IOC said teams composed of such athletes “cannot be considered,” while athletes contracted to Russian and Belarusian militaries, as well as to any of their security agencies, should remain banned from competitions as well.

The committee also singled out “athletes who actively support the war,” stating they should not be allowed to compete either.

The IOC recommended the IFs set up special commissions to analyze the background of athletes, examining their public remarks on the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, partaking in any events in support of the ongoing special military operation, displaying symbols associated with it and so on.

The “recommendations” have already been slammed as “discriminatory” by the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC). The president of ROC, Stanislav Pozdnyakov, said the guidelines amount to “human rights abuse” and are clearly in breach of the IOC’s own principles and the UN charter.

“The announced recommendations are absolutely unacceptable. Neutral status is a violation of human rights, which was pointed out by a UN representative. We consider the proposed conditions unreasonable, legally void and excessive,” Pozdnyakov told reporters.

The official also slammed the ban on team competitions, stating that it affects roughly a third of Russian athletes. “As for the ban on participation of Russians in team competitions, here, in our opinion, this is not just discrimination based on a passport, but also in the disciplines they represent,” Pozdnyakov said.

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