Politics in sports


Putin and Xi release statement backing IOC stance as plans for rival events continue

Putin and Xi release statement backing IOC stance as plans for rival events continue
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Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping released a statement welcoming the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) move to allow Russians to compete as neutrals after meeting in Moscow.

The Russian and Chinese Presidents also condemned Western nations using sport for "unseemly purposes" after Xi's historic visit ended today.

Putin, the Russian President, welcomed the Chinese leader for the first time since he launched the invasion of Ukraine in February last year.

The parties welcome the relevant initiatives and decisions of the International Olympic Committee and the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), which jointly uphold Olympic values,

the joint statement reported by Russian state media TASS said.

The parties oppose the politicisation of sports, and hope to use the unique role of physical culture and sports to promote solidarity and peace.

Putin targeted nations which had called for the Olympic ban on Russia and Belarus, imposed after the invasion, to be maintained.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin have welcomed moves to re-integrate Russian and Belarusian athletes ©Getty Images

Western countries are trying to use sports for unseemly purposes as a tool of pressure,

Putin told TASS.

The IOC Executive Board is expected to further discuss the question of neutral participation at Paris 2024 when they meet next week.

It has already indicated that "a pathway for athletes' participation in competition under strict conditions" should be explored, while the OCA has said it would welcome Russians at the Asian Games.

The International Fencing Federation has already voted to re-admit Russian and Belarus fencers to events from April, which will enable them to take part in qualification events for the Olympics.

This week, boxers from both nations are competing in at the International Boxing Association Women's World Championships in New Delhi.

The OCA Athletes' Forum, meanwhile, declared last week that it supported the return of Russian and Belarus athletes under a neutral flag, with this stance also backed by the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa.

There are fears at the IOC that expelling Russia could lead to rival breakaway sporting events which could challenge the Olympics.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), the eight nation union for economic and security purposes which has Russia and China among its members, is to create a sports association, and could host Games.

Vladimir Putin has supported the establishment of a sports association within the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation which includes both Russia and China ©Getty Images

We support the work on the creation of an appropriate sports association within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation,

Putin confirmed.

Putin also also revealed China's support for the Games of the Future, scheduled for Russian city Kazan in 2024.

The Chinese side supports the Russian initiative to host the Games of the Future international multi-sport tournament in Kazan in 2024, 

the joint statement said.

Of course, we are waiting for a delegation of Chinese athletes next spring in Kazan at the first international multi-sport tournament Games of the Future in innovative sports,

Putin added.

Bilateral sports ties are acquiring special significance in the current difficult political conditions.

We are talking about a very promising initiative that attracts young people, which we could promote together with our Chinese friends.

Putin also revealed that China had offered to host subsequent editions of the Games.

©Getty Images

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