Gerhard Heiberg, a former member of the International Olympic Committee, said that if Russia is allowed to participate in the 2024 Paris Olympics, it could lead to a widespread boycott of the prestigious event by Western countries.
Athletes from Russia and Belarus have faced many restrictions in international sports most of the past year since Russia began military operations in Ukraine, after which they have been banned by many sports federations around the world, as ordered by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
But the IOC indicated last month that it would consider allowing both countries to return to international competition ahead of the Paris 2024 qualifiers, many of which begin in the coming weeks.
The IOC said it was examining proposals that would “facilitate the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in Asian competitions under its jurisdiction, while respecting existing sanctions” – but Norwegian business magnate Heiberg, who has been a senior member of the IOC for 23 years, said that from ” Too early for such considerations.
“It is still too early to plan to develop acceptable conditions for the inclusion of Russian athletes,” he said.
“Ukraine’s allies, and indeed the whole of Europe, are absolutely concerned. More information is needed about Putin and his military leaders.” [akik] They are still terrifyingly aggressive.
“It is too early for OCA leaders to explore potential holes in Russian integration. Ukraine’s neighbors can easily resort to boycotts. The West should refrain for now and should not venture in this wrong direction.”
Heiberg’s comments came just weeks after the IOC’s president, Thomas Bach, appeared to pave the way for Russians’ reintegration into international sport.
“What we never did, and never wanted to do, is do it [megtiltjuk] Athletes should be able to play sports only because of their passport.”
“As we have always done with many other conflicts and wars, past and present, the Olympic Movement must be a unifying force, not a divisive one.”
Bach’s position was echoed by the United Nations, which also suggested that sport should be free from political intent, saying that it “must be organized in a spirit of peace” and that “the unifying and conciliatory nature of such events must be respected”.
Bach also stressed that the sanctions should apply specifically to the countries of Russia and Belarus, but not to the athletes representing the two countries.
“The issue of athletes’ participation has never been and cannot be part of the sanctions,” he said.
He added, “The issue of the participation of athletes was a preventive measure to preserve the integrity of international sports competitions and the safety of athletes from both countries.”
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