Nations seek clarity on Olympics ‘neutrality’ for Russia, Belarus as calls for ban grow – National

The 34 governments on Monday gave the IOC a clear definition of “neutrality” as they seek ways to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to return to international sport and, ultimately, to next year’s Paris Olympics. issued a statement requesting that

“Until these basic issues and the substantial lack of clarity and specific details regarding a viable ‘neutrality’ model are resolved, Russian and Belarusian athletes should be allowed to return to competition. I do not agree that it is not,” the statement read.

Those who signed the statement included officials from the US, UK, France, Canada and Germany. These five countries have brought almost one-fifth of all athletes to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Other countries (such as Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Denmark) that suggested they could boycott the Olympics if the war continued also signed the statement. It didn’t go so far as to mention a boycott.

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The statement was the outcome of a summit meeting between government leaders in London on February 10, and was heard from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Mr Zelensky said Russian athletes could not compete in the Paris Olympics as long as the invasion of Ukraine continued.

The International Olympic Committee wants Russians to participate in the Olympics, citing UN human rights experts who believe Russians and Belarusians should not be discriminated against simply because they have passports. I’m trying to find a way to make it work. The IOC hopes that athletes from countries that do not support war will be able to compete as neutral athletes whose symbols are not permitted.

An IOC spokesman said the commission had already begun the process of outlining the circumstances under which Russians could compete in international competitions if indeed they decided to go on their current path.

2023 marks the start of the Olympic qualification period, so it is a decision that needs to be made clear long before next summer’s Olympics. Russia and Belarus have traditionally been considered part of Europe in the international sports system. Instead, I was invited to participate in several Asian qualifiers later this year. The next IOC Executive Board meeting is scheduled for his March 28-30.

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Assistant Secretary of State Lee Satterfield signed the statement on behalf of the United States. In a separate statement, she stressed the need for the IOC to clarify its definition of neutrality.

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“The United States will continue to join the vast community of nations to hold Russia and Belarus, and the villains who direct their actions, accountable for this brutal war,” Satterfield said. “Russia has repeatedly proven its inability to ignore and follow the rules in international sports and international law.”

In a joint statement, they noted how closely sports and politics are intertwined in Russia and Belarus. Russia invaded Ukraine on Friday a year before her, and Belarus was Russia’s closest ally.

“We want to see how it is possible for Russian and Belarusian Olympians to compete as ‘neutral’ on the condition that the IOC does not identify them with their own countries when they receive direct funding and support from their countries. We have strong concerns about what is possible (for example, professional tennis players),” the statement said. “The strong ties and affiliations between Russian athletes and the Russian military are also clearly a concern. So our overall approach was not simply one of discrimination based on nationality, but these Strong concerns need to be addressed by the IOC.”

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When the war began, the IOC advised sports bodies to keep Russians out of competition, labeling it a measure for the safety of Russian athletes. That stance changed earlier this year. Last week, IOC president Thomas Bach said the IOC is in solidarity with Ukrainian athletes, but that sport must respect the human rights of all athletes.

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“History will prove who is doing more for peace, those who try to connect and communicate, those who try to isolate and divide,” he said. Bach said.

Also last week, European Union lawmakers condemned the IOC’s efforts to reintegrate Russia into world sport. The EU parliament called on 27 member states to pressure the IOC to reverse its decision, saying the Olympic bodies’ approach was “a disgrace to international sport”.

A statement on Monday, while asking the IOC for clarification, said the easiest way for Russia to return to the international sports scene would be “to end the war they started.”

© 2023 The Canadian Press

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