By Chris King • 21 February 2023 • 2:11
Image of the Olympic flag.
The governments of 34 countries worldwide have spoken in favour of a ban on the participation of representatives from Russia and Belarus in international sports competitions. It comes as a result of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
This news was announced in a joint statement published on Monday, February 20, on the website of the British Ministry of Culture, Media and Sports of the United Kingdom.
“There are serious concerns about how justified it is for Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in neutrality given that they are directly funded and supported by their respective states”, the statement said.
It also emphasised that “there are no grounds for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to reconsider the decision”. This referred to the decision adopted last year on the non-admission of athletes from Russia and Belarus.
The statement also alleged that there are “strong ties and jurisdiction of Russian athletes with the Russian armed forces”.
In the statement, the countries called for the IOC to explain the definition of neutrality towards athletes from Russia and Belarus. Until this is done, it is proposed not to allow them to participate in international competitions.
Excerpts from this letter were originally published by the Associated Press. However, it was officially distributed by the British Ministry a few hours later.
Representatives of the governments of Austria, Belgium, Great Britain, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Spain, Italy, Canada, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, USA, Finland, France, Croatia, Czech Republic, Sweden, Estonia, South Korea and Japan, all signed the statement.
On January 25, the IOC proposed to allow Russians and Belarusians who do not take an active part in supporting the Ukrainian invasion to compete in international competitions in a neutral status. This would be subject to a number of conditions.
In early February, the IOC clarified that it was considering the option in which Russians and Belarusians would have the opportunity to compete in tournaments in Asia and qualify for the Games in Paris. At this point, there was no talk of participation in the Olympics itself.
On February 2, the sports ministers of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland called on the IOC and international federations of certain sports to ban the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, as reported by tass.ru.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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