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28 Feb, 2022 15:35

Russia reacts to IOC call for total ban on athletes

The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) spoke out after the recommendation for Russian athletes to face a blanket ban across all sports
Russia reacts to IOC call for total ban on athletes

Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) president Stanislav Pozdnyakov has said the recommendation by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board to ban Russian athletes from international events across all sports is a violation of their rights.

The IOC announced on Monday that wherever possible, international federations should not invite Russian or Belarusian athletes and officials to participate due to the ongoing military conflict in Ukraine.    

The ROC responded by saying it “strongly disagrees” with the recommendation.

“There is the Olympic Charter and there is the previously voiced position of the IOC leadership that athletes are the heart of the Olympic movement, and their rights are above everything, including any political bias,” read a statement from ROC chief Pozdnyakov.

“Today’s decision of colleagues from the International Olympic Committee, in our opinion, contradicts both the regulatory documents of the IOC and the Charter, in the first place, and the spirit of the Olympic movement, which is designed to unite, not divide, especially when it comes to athletes and equality of participants in the Olympic movement.”

The decision by the IOC means various federations will be recommended to ensure that Russian athletes do not take part in international events in all sports – although the ROC demanded clarity on the issue.

“As a first step, we consider it necessary to send requests to international federations to receive an official response about the status of Russian athletes and their rights to participate in international competitions due to the fact that it is international sports federations that have the authority to admit athletes to international competitions in the corresponding sport,” said the ROC.

“For its part, the Russian Olympic Committee intends to consistently defend the rights and interests of Russian athletes and provide all necessary assistance to our national federations to challenge the discriminatory decisions of the respective international federations.”

The IOC statement on Monday also said it was stripping Russian President Vladimir Putin of the Olympic Order, along with Russian officials Dmitry Chernyshenko and Dmitry Kozak.