The governments of more than thirty countries, including the Netherlands, Britain, France and the United States, issued a joint letter calling again for the banning of Russian and Belarusian athletes from international sporting events such as Olympic Games.
The countries have asked the International Olympic Committee for clarification on how the IOC believes athletes from Russia and Belarus can participate in the Paris Games in 2024. Athletes from these two countries are currently excluded from most international sporting events due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the support the Russian military received from Belarus.
The IOC said earlier that it was studying the possibilities of Russian and Belarusian athletes participating in the Paris Games under a neutral flag. This in turn provoked a furious reaction from Ukraine, which announced that it would probably boycott the Olympics in this case.
We have serious concerns about why Russian and Belarusian athletes compete under a neutral flag if they are paid and supported directly by their governments.
In the letter, the signatories emphasize the close ties and preferences between Russian athletes and the Russian military, according to French news agency AFP. “We have serious concerns about why Russian and Belarusian athletes compete under a neutral flag if they are paid and supported directly by their governments,” they write. The IOC must address these concerns.
Sports Minister Conny Helder had already informed the House of Representatives on February 10 that, as far as the cabinet was concerned, athletes from Russia and Belarus should be banned from international sports tournaments such as the Olympics. In doing so, the government also complied with the wishes of the House. Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, also spoke out against the arrival of a Russian delegation in her city in 2024.
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