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IOC seeks for ways to let Russia, Belarus athletes back to international competitions

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Geneva: The International Olympic Committee (IOC), accompanied with International Federations (IFs) and National Olympic Committees (NOCs), are seeking for ways to bring athletes of Russia and Belarus back to the international competitions, according to a statement released by the IOC on Wednesday.

IOC, IFs, NOCs and athletes’ representatives unanimously agreed on the sanctions against the Russian and Belarusian State and Government, the solidarity of the Olympic Movement with the Ukrainian athletes and the Ukrainian Olympic community, as well as the possible access to sports competitions for individual athletes with Russian or Belarusian passports, IOC announced.

The Executive Board (EB) of the IOC met on Wednesday in Lausanne, Switzerland, following the unanimous conclusions of the Olympic Summit on December 9 and consultation calls with IOC Members, the global network of athletes’ representatives, IFs and NOCs on January 17-19, to make the statement.

The vast majority of the participants in each of the consultation call agreed to “respect the rights of all athletes to be treated without any discrimination, in accordance with the Olympic Charter. Governments must not decide which athletes can participate in which competition and which athletes cannot,” IOC said.

“A pathway for athletes’ participation in competition under strict conditions should therefore be further explored,” IOC added.

In the statement, IOC also disclosed a letter from the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Human Rights Council, saying: “We express serious concern, however, about the recommendation to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials such as judges from international competitions, based solely on their nationality, as a matter of principle. This raises serious issues of non-discrimination.”

It also cited the President of the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly as saying, “I encourage all Member States to preserve the unifying spirit of sports and the Olympic Movement. It is far more promising to the world if nations compete on the fields of sports than on the battlefields. The former makes us more noble and stronger, the latter leaves death and devastation behind.”

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