Back “Russian and Belarusian athletes should be banned from the Olympic and Paralympic Games”

Deputy Secretary General Strasbourg 19 June 2023
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“Russian and Belarusian athletes should be banned from the Olympic and Paralympic Games”

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is considering whether to allow athletes from Russia and Belarus to take part in the 2024 Paris Olympics and Paralympics.

Today, the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted the draft report and resolution on “War of aggression against Ukraine – Participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics?” in preparation for a joint urgent debate on Thursday in the Plenary Assembly.

Taking part in the Committee meeting, Deputy Secretary General Bjørn Berge highlighted the Committee’s leading role on this topic and emphasised that sports have had political implications for decades.

“I find it extremely hard to accept that Russian and Belarussian athletes should be able to compete in the Olympic and Paralympic Games, as long as the Russian Federation, with the indirect and direct support of Belarus, is conducting a completely unacceptable war of aggression against Ukraine”, said the Deputy Secretary General.

He underlined that a fundamental reason is the protection of the human rights of Ukrainian people as well as the restoration of peace.

Bjørn Berge also raised the issue of integrity in sports: “A number of Russian and Belarusian athletes belong to the military or may be supported, included financially, by others who are subject to sanctions. While this may be hard to prove right now, their integrity is, at the very least, called into question”, he observed.

“As long as the Russian Federation is carrying out its brutal and illegal war of aggression against Ukraine, with the support of the Belarusian regime, we must protect the integrity of sports and of all the athletes concerned. The exclusion of athletes from both countries therefore becomes a necessity”, the Deputy Secretary General concluded.