Home » The IOC is open to Russian athletes, Moscow’s no to the conditions

The IOC is open to Russian athletes, Moscow’s no to the conditions

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A return with some stakes, but still a step towards reinstatement in international competitions, only under a neutral flag, however, and provided they are not war fans. As for the Paris Olympics, the stalemate remains. But the controversy rages on. For the Russian and Belarusian athletes, banned from sport after the war between Moscow and Ukraine, there are some glimmers: at the end of the executive meeting, the IOC in fact recommended their reintegration to the federations of the various disciplines, provided that takes place only on an individual basis (therefore the call for teams remains) and without a flag. And provided that these champions do not “actively support the war in Ukraine” and are not “under contract” with the military or security agencies of the two countries. And in any case every possible opening is reversible, because as the president of the Olympic committee Thomas Bach himself explained, the IOC recommends the return of the Russians “only on condition that it can be revoked at the discretion of the international federation concerned”.

As for participation in the upcoming Paris Olympics, the meeting in Lausanne did not resolve reservations and doubts: “The question has not been addressed, the IOC will decide “at the right moment”. Ukraine said it was satisfied with the “postponement” of the This concerns the possible participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, the international body which today avoided deciding on the issue. “We managed to postpone the decision on the integration of Russians and Belarusians at the 2024 Olympics”, Ukrainian sports minister Vadym Gutzait said on Facebook, specifying that he is working so that no “patriotic” Russian athlete “can enter international sports arenas”.

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While Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic countries are already threatening to boycott the 2024 Olympics in the event of Russian and Belarusian presence, the IOC merely says that it will decide when the time comes, “at its sole discretion and without being bound by the results of the qualification”. A decision that nobody likes though. “The reinstatement of the Russians is a slap to Ukraine – said the German minister Nancy Faeser – sport must condemn the war and continue to exclude Russia”. Which instead reacts with strong disappointment to the decision of the IOC, judged “unacceptable”. Because Moscow aspired to return fully to sport, with anthem, flag and teams. And instead the enlisted athletes also remain out. That of military athletes is a case in the case: so much so that the parliamentarians of Kiev have pointed out to the European Parliament that in some disciplines (such as shooting or fencing) the dead could escape. In front of the no to the Russians also fencing with the petition of 300 athletes (mostly English and American, only two Italians, Luigi Samele and Erica Cipressa) who signed against the ‘yes’ to the Moscow athletes for the Paris Games. A letter addressed to Bach who already said last December that the IOC was evaluating the situation of the Russians: but after 4 months in fact the responsibility for inviting or not the athletes of the two countries under accusation must be taken by the federations and the organizers of the events. In defense of the reinstatement, Bach cited the Russians’ participation in tennis and cycling as an example: “It already works”, even when they have to face Ukrainian opponents, ignoring however that the Belarusian Sabalenka said she had never encountered so much hatred in the locker room. But there are many wars in the world, claims the IOC, and in none of the other conflict situations has the exclusion of athletes from enemy countries been requested. The federations go in no particular order and if Sebastian Coe’s athletics confirmed their no, fencing on the contrary has readmitted them since April. But what appears to be a resolution to follow the Olympic message of peace has already unleashed other barriers: with the threat of a boycott hovering over the Paris Olympics.

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