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Belarus President Lukashenko BANNED from attending Olympic Games

Belarus President Lukashenko BANNED from attending Olympic Games
President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus, who also heads the country’s national Olympic committee, has been barred from the Games as part of provisional sanctions imposed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The Olympic bosses decided to act against the Belarusian president after receiving multiple complaints of discrimination against the country’s athletes over their political views. Two other sports officials faced similar restrictions, with one of them being Lukashenko’s son Viktor, who is the committee’s first vice president.

Belarus has been rocked by widespread protests since the August presidential election, which the opposition claimed were rigged by Lukashenko. Some of the country’s top athletes have sided with the demonstrators, who the authorities claim are being instigated by the West. As such, they have faced the consequences of the police crackdown.

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The leadership in Minsk “has not appropriately protected the Belarusian athletes from political discrimination within the NOC [National Olympic Committee], their member federations, or the sports movement,” IOC President Thomas Bach said as he announced the provisional sanctions on Monday.

Such behavior contradicted the fundamental principles of the Olympic Charter, which harmed the reputation of the whole Olympic movement, he added.

The IOC also froze all payments to the Belarusian NOC. The scholarships for the athletes preparing for the Olympics will from now on be transferred directly to them.

Bach pointed out that sanctions on Lukashenko and the NOC wouldn’t affect the Belarusian athletes or impede their chance of qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games, which have been rescheduled to 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, or the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.

The IOC head also called upon international sports federations to cancel any international events hosted by Belarus. This means Minsk may lose next year’s World Ice Hockey Championships, with Bach saying that the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) has already initiated a procedure against the head of the Belarusian hockey federation, who is also an NOC member.

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