Olympic Chiefs Reject Zelenskyy Plea To Ban Russian Athletes

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(Last Updated On: 2023-01-25)

 

Olympic chiefs have rejected pleas by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to ban Russian athletes from the 2024 Paris Games.

The International Olympic Committee said after an executive board meeting that it is exploring Russians being allowed to compete as neutrals if they have not actively supported the war in Ukraine.

The announcement came a day after Zelenskyy tweeted that in a call with French President Emmanuel Macron he “stressed that athletes from RF (Russia) should have no place at Paris 2024”.

The IOC said in a statement today: “Governments must not decide which athletes can participate in which competition and which athletes cannot.”

The IOC said the “vast majority” of participants in consultation calls determined that “no athlete should be prevented from competing just because of their passport” and that a “pathway for athletes’ participation in competition under strict conditions should therefore be further explored”.

The decision also impacts athletes from Belarus which has been used as a staging post by Russia for attacks on Ukraine.

The IOC said conditions for athletes from Russia and Belarus to compete in Paris as neutrals could be that they “in no way represent their state or any other organisation in their country, as is already happening in professional leagues, particularly in Europe, the United States and Canada, and in some individual professional sports”.

The IOC added that would mean: “Those who have not acted against the peace mission of the IOC by actively supporting the war in Ukraine could compete. Second, only athletes who fully comply with the World Anti-Doping Code and all relevant anti-doping rules and regulations would be eligible. There must be individual checks carried out for all entered athletes.”

The IOC held consultation calls with its members, athletes, sports federations and National Olympic Committees last week.

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