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International Olympic Committee president criticizes Ukraine's call to boycott the Games

by The Kyiv Independent news desk February 10, 2023 12:07 AM 1 min read
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In a letter to Ukraine’s National Olympic Committee sent on Jan. 31, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) president, Thomas Bach, criticized Ukraine’s threat to boycott the Games, saying it would violate the Olympic charter.

Recently the IOC gave the green light for Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. It was agreed by the IOC executive board that “no athlete should be prevented from competing just because of their passport” but that all those involved would compete as “neutral athletes,” assuming they fully respected the Olympic Charter and had not actively supported the war in Ukraine, the Guardian reported.

"Threatening a boycott of the Olympic Games (...) goes against the fundamentals of the Olympic Movement and the principles we stand for," according to Bach's letter, which German journalist Hajo Seppelt published on his Twitter on Feb. 9. "In this respect, the NOC of Ukraine certainly does not enjoy the support or solidarity of the vast majority of shareholders of the Olympic Movement."

Bach added in his letter to Ukraine's Sports Minister Vadym Guttsayt that Ukraine's attempt to get other nations to boycott the games was "extremely regrettable" and that "previous boycotts did not achieve their political ends."

Ukrainian athletes, together with the Global Athlete initiative, criticized the decision in their joint statement by claiming “the IOC continues to be on the wrong side of history” before insisting that “sponsors, host cities, and national governments must stop tolerating the IOC’s kowtowing to Russia.”

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