IOC President insists on inclusion of Russian athletes in 2024 Olympic Games

IOC President insists on inclusion of Russian athletes in 2024 Olympic Games

Ukraine does not rule out boycott of Olympics if they are allowed to compete

IOC President insists on inclusion of Russian athletes in 2024 Olympic Games

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach on Wednesday called on politicians to "separate politics and sports" as he insisted on the committee's plans to include Russian and Belarusian athletes in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

Source. CNN writes about it.

"If politics decides who can participate in competitions, then sports and athletes become tools of politics," Bach said during a speech at a political forum in Essen, Germany, which lasted more than an hour.

"Then sport ceases to be a unifying force. We have to be politically neutral, but not apolitical. We know very well that politics rules the world. We know very well that our decisions have political consequences, and we have to take that into account in our thinking," he continued, "But we must not make the mistake of getting involved in political disputes, because we will be crushed by these political forces.

According to Reuters, Bakh said that Ukraine wants – and this is a direct quote – the complete isolation of all Russians. This phrase was greeted with applause by some in the audience.

But Bakh described the problem as a "dilemma" and a "completely new situation."

"If we exclude athletes for political reasons, we will face the decline of the international sports system," the IOC president said.

Background. In January, the IOC outlined a plan for Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate in the 2024 Summer Games in Paris and the 2026 Winter Games in Milan.

The plan would allow participants to participate as neutral athletes, without representing their country through a flag, anthem, uniform or other identification.

The United States, Canada and most European countries have criticized the decision. Last month, the United States and more than 30 other like-minded countries supported a proposal to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from international sports competitions.

Ukraine does not rule out a boycott of the Olympics if Russian and Belarusian athletes are allowed to compete, the country's Sports Minister said in January.

Earlier, Ukrainian President Zelensky called on his partners to prevent Russian athletes from participating in the Olympics.

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