Politics in sports


Ukraine's possible Olympics boycott "destructive", claims Russian Sports Minister

Ukraine's possible Olympics boycott "destructive", claims Russian Sports Minister
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Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin has criticised Ukraine's decision to consider shunning the Olympic Games in Paris next year over his country’s participation, claiming a boycott is "destructive" and "harms international sport".

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is continuing to explore a pathway for athletes from Russia and Belarus to participate at next year’s Games under a neutral banner despite the ongoing war in Ukraine.

The move has sparked anger from Ukrainian officials, with its Sports Minister Vadym Guttsait warning that his nation will consider boycotting Paris 2024 if Russia and Belarus are present.

Guttsait is also head of the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine which is set to hold an Extraordinary General Assembly tomorrow to discuss the possibility of pulling out of the Games — a move which has been criticised by Matytsin.

My opinion on such statements is, of course, negative,

said Matytsin in a report by Russia’s official state news agency TASS.

They are destructive, [and] harm international sport in general.

We believe that any boycott is a dead end in the development [of international sports] and harms not only today, but also has a long-term effect.

I hope that international sport is consolidated in today's conditions, attempts to discriminate against our sport will not be implemented and Russians will have the opportunity to participate in international competitions.

Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin believes any boycott is a "dead end" to the development of sport 

The threat of a boycott over the involvement of Russian and Belarusian athletes is growing with a number of European nations expressing their opposition to their potential return to international competition.

Polish Sports Minister Kamil Bortniczuk reportedly said that "Poland and Britain are at the forefront" of efforts to create a coalition against the participation of Russia and Belarus at Paris 2024 and claimed that countries "may issue an ultimatum" should they compete.

IOC President Thomas Bach has insisted that it

does not correspond to the values and the mission of the Olympic Charter to exclude athletes of their passport.

The IOC has stressed that the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes would be under "strict conditions" of neutrality, and only for athletes who "fully respect the Olympic Charter", with sanctions including a ban on national symbols remaining in place.

However, the conditions have been criticised by Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, insisting that that it is "not their private business".

This idea is driven by obviously unacceptable requirements for our country,

said Zakharova in TASS.

Such unsightly attempts to squeeze our country out of international sports are doomed to failure.

All these anti-doers are destroying the world sports movement.

Those who are now the bureaucracy of world sports, who head the relevant Olympic committees and receive salaries for this by no means from the pockets of sponsors should not forget that this is not their private business, not a private shop.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has criticised the sanctions imposed by the International Olympic Committee should Russia's athletes return to competition 

Russian Olympic Committee (ROC)  President Stanislav Poznyakov has also slammed the IOC’s criteria likely to be set, including Russia having to compete under a neutral flag and the national anthem not being played at medal ceremonies.

His comments were followed by a swift rebuke by the IOC which stressed that the sanctions against Russia and Belarus and their Government are "not negotiable" and had been "unanimously" confirmed at December's Olympic Summit.

But the ROC has hit back at the IOC again, claiming that the views on the requirements were "divided".

The declaration of the Olympic Summit on the issue of the return of Russian and Belarusian athletes to the international arena very clearly states that the summit participants spoke unanimously for this decision, 

a statement from the ROC published in TASS read.

The restrictions and sanctions proposed by the participants of the Olympic Summit against Russia and Belarus were not supported by the Russian Olympic Committee.

In this case, the decision was not unanimous, opinions were divided.

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