Ukraine’s 2024 Paris Olympics call for boycott against Olympic ‘principles’: IOC Director Bach

IOC President Thomas Bach has told Ukraine that the call for a boycott of the 2024 Paris Olympics because of the possible participation of Russian competitors goes against the “principles” of the Olympics because his organization is accused. forced to “go against history”. In a letter to Ukraine’s National Olympic Committee revealed on Thursday, Bach said Ukraine’s efforts to “pressure” other countries to boycott the 2024 Olympics were “extremely regrettable.” “. Last month, the International Olympic Committee said it was exploring a “roadmap” to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate in the Paris Olympics, under a neutral flag.

Ukraine reacted furiously, threatening to withdraw from the Olympics. Nordic countries and some Eastern European countries said they would join the boycott.

“The threat to boycott the Olympic Games that the NOC of Ukraine is currently considering, as you have informed me, goes against the fundamental principles of the Olympic Movement and the principles we represent,” said Bach. said in a letter to the head of the Ukrainian Olympic Games Vadym Goutzeit.

Bach said the participation of the Russian and Belarusian athletes “has not even been discussed specifically”.

“So your letter at this early stage goes to your fellow NOCs, to International Federations, IOC Members and to future Olympic host countries, putting pressure on them in the future. attempts to publicly influence their decision-making, have been seen by the vast majority of them as, at the very least, extremely regrettable,” added Bach.

Bach also criticized what he described as “defamatory statements” by some Ukrainian officials, who accused the IOC of being “a promoter of war, murder and destruction”.

Russia and its ally Belarus, which allowed its territory to be used as a launching pad when Moscow began its invasion of Ukraine last February, have been excluded from most Olympic sports since the war began. .

– Sports Ministers Summit –

Bach’s letter was published on the eve of a summit of sports ministers in London on Friday.

At the conference, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is expected to denounce the possibility of Russian athletes participating in the Paris Olympics.

Zelensky has called the plans to allow the Russians to participate an attempt “to tell the whole world that terrorism is somehow acceptable”.

The IOC’s proposed route for athletes to return to competition under a neutral flag, provided they “do not actively support the war in Ukraine”, has been deeply divided and hotly debated.

Polish Sports Minister Kamil Bortniczuk said he expected about 40 countries to oppose the participation of Russians and Belarusians in the Paris Olympics at Friday’s conference.

However, the United States supports allowing athletes from Russia and Belarus to compete as neutrals while objecting to the display of their national flags or emblems.

The controversy did not help shape a unified policy.

For example, Russian and Belarusian tennis players can compete in tour events and Grand Slams even though they are not under their national flags.

However, Wimbledon last year imposed a comprehensive ban on players from two countries taking part in arguably the sport’s most prestigious Grand Slam event.

– ‘The reverse of history’ –

Pressure group Global Athletes said Bach’s response to concerns about Ukraine showed “the IOC continues to be on the wrong track of history”.

“Their letter is further evidence of Russia’s power over the Olympic organization and movement,” the group said in a statement released on Thursday.

“Sponsors, host cities and national governments must stop tolerating the IOC against Russia.”

On Wednesday, the French government and the 2024 Olympics organizers dropped the dispute, a day after Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo called for a moratorium on the war in Ukraine.

Hidalgo echoed Zelensky, who urged his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron to ban Russians from the Olympics.

French government spokesman Olivier Veran and Paris Organizing Committee chairman Tony Estanguet said the decision was the responsibility of the IOC.

“The IOC must make a decision by the summer,” Veran told a news conference.

“No position has been formally agreed with the IOC yet,” he said. “I will wait for the international cooperation to begin.”

However, he did not rule out the possibility of exclusion, speaking of “France’s steadfast desire that all sanctions can be fully and thoroughly applied”.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and was automatically generated from the aggregate feed.)

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