The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has reacted sharply to the British government's call for athletes from Russia and Belarus to be banned from the Olympic Games.
"It is not up to governments to decide which athletes are allowed to compete in which international competitions," says an IOC statement quoted by the industry magazine "Inside the Games". "That would be the end of world sport as we know it today."
The Ministry of Sport in London, headed by Lucy Frazer, wrote a letter to Olympic sponsors asking for support for his position. The letter went to the heads of Coca-Cola, Intel, Samsung and Visa in Great Britain, among others. "We know that sport and politics are closely intertwined in Russia and Belarus and we are resolute in our stance that the regimes in Russia and Belarus must not be allowed to use sport for their propaganda purposes," Frazer said letter stressed.
IOC insists on the autonomy of sport
The IOC now opposed this. "We very much hope that the UK Government will respect the autonomy of sport, which it has emphasized in so many decisions, statements and UN resolutions." The IOC insists that the decision as to which athletes can participate in international competitions is left exclusively to sports organizations.
A month ago, at Frazer's invitation, sports politicians from 35 nations increased the pressure on the IOC by demanding that Russian and Belarusian athletes be excluded from the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. Russia and Belarus are already excluded from many international sports competitions.
However, the IOC is aiming for athletes from both countries to return to the international sports stage under neutral flags, provided they clearly commit to the Olympic Charter and do not actively support the war in Ukraine.