Paris 2024: country coalition requires “clarifications” in IOC on Russian file

In a letter, addressed to the International Olympic Committee on Monday (IOC), the sports ministers of around thirty countries asked him to reconsider his proposal to welcome Russian and Belarusian athletes in a neutral banner in Paris in 2024. /p>

mo12345lemonde with AFP

A coalition of around thirty countries asked the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to “clarifications” on the neutrality required for Russian and Belarusian athletes conditioning their participation in the Olympic Games in 2024, in a letter addressed Monday 20 February at the Olympic body.

“We are very worried about the feasibility for the Russian and Belarusian Olympic athletes to participate as” neutral “(…) while they are funded and supported by their states”, explains this mail obtained by the AFP, the fruit of a conference held on February 11 between sports ministers in around thirty countries. “We believe firmly, given that the situation has not changed about the assault of Russia in Ukraine (…), that there is no reason to return to the exclusion of Russian and Belarusian athletes Decided by the IOC “, explains the mail of the coalition.

Russian and Belarusian athletes have been banished from most international competitions since the invasion of Ukraine by Russia in February 2022, the international federations that followed the “recommendation” in this sense of the IOC. But the IOC has nuanced since its position and offered a roadmap at the end of January to organize the return of these athletes under neutral flag, provided that they “did not actively support the war in Ukraine”. “No athlete should be prohibited from competition alone on the basis of his passport,” said the executive of the Olympic body.

“As long as these fundamental subjects, as well as the cruel lack of clarity and concrete details on the definition of” neutrality “are not addressed, we do not accept that the Russian and Belarusian athletes are allowed to return to Competition, say the signatories of the letter addressed to the IOC. We are urgently asking for the IOC to approach these questions targeted by all countries and to reconsider its proposal accordingly “.

France, Great Britain, Sweden, Poland but also the United States and Canada were present at the February 11 conference, during which Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelensky intervened. He had notably tried to convince the ministers by believing that the presence of Russian sportsmen at the Paris Games would be “a sign of violence and impunity”.

kyiv threatened to boycott the games, accusing the IOC of being “a promoter of war, murder and destruction”. Since then, a front has been organized in the support of kyiv, even if a handful of only states are considering a boycott, like Estonia and Poland.

/Media reports cited above.