15:34 01 Apr 2023

IOC criticizes Ukraine's decision to ban its athletes from Olympics

Фото: REUTERS/Benoit Tessie

The International Olympic Committee criticized Ukraine's decision to ban its athletes from taking part in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Ukraine says it will not participate in qualifying events if they have to compete against russian and belarusian athletes, Reuters reports.

The IOC condemned Ukraine's decision not to participate in competitions where russians and belarusians will participate.

"The IOC has always maintained that it is not up to governments to decide which athletes can participate in which international competitions." 

If the Ukrainian government's decision to boycott competitions is implemented, it is the athletes from Ukraine who will allegedly suffer, IOC states.

"If implemented, such a decision would only hurt the Ukrainian athlete community, and in no way impact the war that the world wants to stop, and that the IOC has so vehemently condemned," the Olympic body said in a statement.

Athletes from countries at war allegedly constantly compete with each other at the Olympics, IOC adds.

"Due to the fact that there are unfortunately far too many wars, armed conflicts and crises in this world, we have seen in almost all editions of the Games athletes compete with each other despite the fact that their nations are at war or in conflict," the body said.

Ukrainian government minister Oleh Nemchinov announced the policy on Friday after the IOC issued recommendations on Tuesday for the gradual return to international competition for Russian and Belarusian athletes as neutrals.

The IOC is reluctant to exclude russians and belarusians from Paris out of concern about a return to the Olympic boycotts of the Cold War era. The body set out a pathway in January for them to earn Olympic slots through Asian qualifying events for the 2024 Games to compete as neutral athletes without flags or anthems.

Some federations have readmitted russian athletes to competitions, but there is also considerable opposition to the IOC's plans from athletes and some European governments.

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