The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe spoke out on Thursday for the total exclusion of Russian and Belarusian athletes from the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris “as long as Russia’s war of aggression (on Ukraine ) keep on going “.
In a resolution adopted during its summer plenary session, which is being held this week in Strasbourg, the assembly urged “the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and its constituent sports bodies to maintain the position expressed in 2022 and to prohibit the participation” of these athletes in the next Olympic Games and “all other major sporting events”, she said in a press release.
This resolution comes as the IOC “is currently considering the possibility of authorizing athletes” with a Russian or Belarusian passport “to compete in Paris as ‘neutral athletes'”, continues the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Europe (PACE).
The IOC last March recommended the reinstatement of Russian and Belarusian athletes in international competitions, under a neutral banner and “in an individual capacity”, provided they had not actively supported the war in Ukraine.
But PACE says in its resolution that any participation by these athletes is “unthinkable” and “would certainly be used as a propaganda tool and would de facto prevent other athletes – including Ukrainians – from participating”.
According to the PACE, the arguments in favor of their participation “do not carry sufficient weight in the face of the imperative to condemn and repudiate the atrocities committed and to demonstrate the full and unwavering support of the international community for Ukraine while let the assault continue”.
According to the parliamentarians of the Council of Europe assembly, “Russian and Belarusian elite athletes received state salaries and were often part of military sports teams”.
“It seems impossible that they could demonstrate their neutrality and distance from these regimes, let alone make a statement against the war,” they added, and those who did would “put themselves in a position dangerous”.
During a hearing last April before the PACE, representatives of the IOC, including Gaby Ahrens, former fencer and president of the Athletes’ Commission of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA), had called for not “condemn the sportsmen” for the actions of their leaders.
French Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra said it was up to the IOC to make “a sovereign decision” regarding the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the Olympics.