The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has taken the unprecedented step of calling on sporting organizations across the world to ban Russia and Belarus from competing, as the sport and media world continues to react to the Ukraine conflict.
In the past hour, the committee has issued a statement urging global sports federations to “protect the integrity of competitions for the safety of all the participants” by excluding athletes and officials from these nations. The IOC pointed out that some Ukrainian athletes are being rendered unable to compete by the conflict, which started in earnest five days ago.
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The Committe said the Ukraine conflict had put it in a dilemma, which “cannot be solved”, and that it had delivered its resolution with a “heavy heart.”
Where a complete ban isn’t possible, whether at short notice or for legal reasons, federations should “do everything in their power to ensure no athlete or official be allowed to take part under the name of Russia or Belarus,” added the statement.
“Russian or Belarusian nationals, be it as individuals or teams, should be accepted only as neutral athletes or neutral teams. No national symbols, colours, flags or anthems should be displayed,” added the statement. “Wherever, in very extreme circumstances, even this is not possible on short notice for organisational or legal reasons, the IOC leaves it to the relevant organisation to find its own way to effectively address the dilemma described above.”
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With sporting matches being cancelled against Russia across the world, the IOC went on to urge the cancellation or relocation of games versus Russia and Belarus and reaffirmed its “full solidarity with the Ukrainian Olympic community.”
Belarus is seen as being on the side of Russia and the nation is involved with today’s peace talks.
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