‘IOC and Games cannot be referees in political disputes’ – IOC President Thomas Bach stood up for Russia and Belarus

Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee once again advocates with a pro-Russian statement and continues to express his allegiance to the Kremlin.

Speaking at a political forum on Wednesday, Thomas Bach defending discussions that could allow athletes from Russia and Belarus to compete under a neutral flag at the 2024 Paris Games. Bach said that the Games should “stay away from politics”, otherwise they would lose their “uniting powers”, citing examples of past boycotts in the 1970s and 1980s. 

In the history of world sports, countries have already boycotted international competitions, including the Olympic Games. The most famous case is the Olympic Games of 1980 in Moscow and 1984 in Los Angeles. The reason for the boycott of the 1980 Olympics was the war of the USSR in Afghanistan, which began a year before. At that time, 66 countries did not officially come to the Olympics (some athletes participated as “neutral athletes”). And this became a real humiliating blow for the Kremlin.

What preceded it: We have already mentioned about Thomas Bach and his close association with Russia in our article. 

It is interesting that Mr. Bach called Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine a “global political dispute”, strictly following the thesis of Russian propaganda.

During the visit of IOC President Thomas Bach to Essen, Germany, a protest was held against the Russians and the Belarusians being allowed to take part in the Olympic Games. About 200 people took part in the event. I.O.C. has not yet made a final decision regarding the participation of Russians and Belarusians in the next Olympics.

Protest during the visit of the IOC president

Meanwhile, as reported by NYT newspaper, the world organization for track and field made a number of important decisions regarding the keeps its ban on of Russian and Belarusian athletes. World Athletics and numerous other sports federations put a ban in place shortly after Russia began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine 13 months ago, using Belarus as a staging ground.

from left, Sebastian Coe, the president of World Athletics, Jon Ridgeon, the group’s chief executive, and Rune Andersen, the leader of the group’s Russia task force, in Rome in November. Credit: Gregorio Borgia/Associated Press.

“The death and destruction we have seen in Ukraine over the past year, including the deaths of some 185 athletes, have only hardened my resolve on this matter,”

Sebastian Coe, the president of World Athletics, said in a statement Thursday.

“The integrity of our major international competitions has already been substantially damaged by the actions of the Russian and Belarusian governments, through the hardship inflicted on Ukrainian athletes and the destruction of Ukraine’s sports systems,” said Mr. Coe, a former Olympic runner from Britain. “Russian and Belarusian athletes, many of whom have military affiliations, should not be beneficiaries of these actions.”

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