– Russia’s war in Ukraine continues, supported by Belarus, and the situation in Ukraine is getting worse. There is no indication that the IOC should reconsider its earlier stance on banning Russian and Belarusian athletes from international sports. So I would have liked us to be even clearer with the IOC, but it was important to include as many countries as possible in this statement, because it gives more weight to the message, says the Minister of Culture and Equality Trettebergstuen (Ap) in a Press release.
The statement specifies, among other things, that the autonomy of sports organizations is recognized, but that the IOC is “strongly” encouraged to listen to the objections of the 35 countries to Russian and Belarusian participation.
Among other things, doubts are expressed as to the possibility of allowing Russians and Belarusians to participate as neutral individuals, since in these countries there are close links between sport and politics, and Olympic sport is often directly funded by the state. They call for a viable model of neutrality and express that in the absence of such a model, the 35 nations agree that Russian and Belarusian athletes should not be allowed to participate in international competitions at the ‘actual hour.
– I support the clear statement of the Nordic sports federations on February 7 that now is not the time to consider the return of Russian and Belarusian athletes to international sports. It is unacceptable and provocative that the IOC has toyed with the idea of letting them in again, says Trettebergstuen.
– Regarding the concept of “neutral athletes”, in contexts where all other athletes represent national teams and compete under the flag of their respective country, it is difficult to see that the concept of neutrality has any meaning, she adds.
The statement is the result of a digital summit held on February 10, which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj also took part in.
The statement ends with Russia and Belarus themselves having the power to pave the way for their athletes to return to international competition, “by ending the war they started”.
These countries support the declaration (in alphabetical order): Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, – Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, United Kingdom, Sweden, South Korea, Czech Republic, Germany, United States, Austria.
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