Authorities ban Russian athletes from competing at Olympics under neutral flag

Russian athletes will not participate in the Olympic Games on the terms of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which banned them from using the national flag and anthem because of the war in Ukraine. This was announced by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko.

“If for this you have to give up your homeland, of course, we are not satisfied with such a thing. So behind those humiliations that the Anglo-Saxons come up with – to perform under a neutral flag and without an anthem, now they add that you must publicly condemn the decisions to conduct a special military operation – we do not agree with this”, he said (quoted by RIA Novosti).

Chernyshenko also noted that so far he sees no point in challenging the sanctions against Russian sport in the courts, but then there will still be a lawsuit, and now the authorities are collecting the necessary documentation for it.

It is noteworthy that the deputy prime minister was not embarrassed by the fact that Russians have already had to participate in the Olympics under a neutral flag after the doping scandal related to the Sochi Games.

In addition, in late April, Francesco Ricci Bitti, president of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), said that Russians would not be forced to condemn the invasion of Ukraine in writing – they would only be required to meet the criteria for neutrality. “They will not be asked to indicate that they oppose the war – in Russia there is a criminal offense for that”, Bitti explained.

Earlier in the day, the IOC announced that the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) of Russia and Belarus will not receive an invitation to the 2024 Olympics. Now there are 203 NOCs in the “green” list – they will be officially invited on July 26.

The IOC explained that the previous recommendations of the committee were intended for international federations and organizers of competitions, but do not apply to the Olympics in Paris. They added that the final decision on the participation of Russians and Belarusians in the Games would be made later. The committee did not indicate the exact terms.

March 28, IOC recommended to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate in international competitions under a neutral flag. However, this did not apply to those who compete in team sports, as well as those who actively support the war in Ukraine and have contracts with the Armed Forces or security agencies.

Then IOC President Thomas Bach said that the decision on the admission of Russians and Belarusians to the Olympics in Paris would be made by the international sports federations. According to him, a special body under the auspices of the federations of summer and winter sports will be created for this purpose.

Earlier, Russian and Belarusian athletes were allowed to participate in the Asian Games in 2023 in Hangzhou, but also only under a neutral flag. 500 athletes will be allowed to compete. They will not be able to claim medals, but will have the opportunity to qualify for the Olympic Games in Paris.

In February, representatives of 35 countries, including the United States, Germany, France, Great Britain and Japan, spoke out against the admission of Russian athletes to international competitions.

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