Mumbai (dpa) – Thomas Bach looks quite relaxed in this colorful picture from India. The IOC president played cricket with children, left colorful handprints on advertising walls and enjoyed a night of football at a Mumbai stadium on wicker chairs.
Before the International Olympic Committee’s general meeting in the Indian metropolis that begins on Sunday, Bach took a short break from sensitive topics such as the question of Russia, which is unlikely to be resolved at the 141st IOC session.
The parent organization suspended the Russian Olympic Committee because the ROC accepted four annexed Ukrainian regions, namely Kherson, Zaporizhia, Donetsk and Luhansk as members. But the violation of the Olympic Charter and the withdrawal of financial support for the ROC, which was condemned by the IOC leadership, should have no consequences for a question that has divided the sports world for months: Should athletes from Russia and its backer, Belarus, be allowed to compete? despite the war of aggression in Ukraine to take part in the Summer Olympics in Paris or not?
The IOC continues to buy time
“There has been no decision yet on when we will make a decision,” said IOC spokesman Mark Adams. A decision on whether Russians will be allowed to compete in the Olympics at least as neutral athletes will be made “at the right time, leading up to the Olympics,” Adams added. His boss Thomas Bach recently told an international athlete forum that he hoped athletes “from all over the world” could take part in next year’s Olympics.
The current dispute over the symbolism of sports policy and financial aid of several million euros is unlikely to change the course of the IOC. The umbrella organization could see the fact that the International Paralympic Committee recently lifted a complete ban on Russia and allowed the start under a neutral flag and without an anthem as a further boost to its policy. “We are encouraged by the many international federations that have organized international competitions and even world championships based on our recommendations,” the parent organization said.
Russia as neutral athlete in Paris?
Individual athletes who pursue their sport on the biggest stage as neutral athletes with no visible ties to Russia or Belarus and no ties to the military – that’s Bach’s IOC idea. The decision should not be “politicized,” French President Emmanuel Macron warned, in keeping with the spirit of the IOC. “Of course there should be no Russian flag at the Paris Olympics, I think there is a consensus on that. Russia is not accepted as a country at a time when they are committing war crimes and kidnapping children,” Macron told L’ Equipment newspaper.
The Russian issue is very controversial in Europe. UEFA’s European Football Union recently discovered this when they re-admitted Russian youth teams. Because dozens of associations refused to compete with young Russian players, the Russian U17 team was unable to take part in the European Championship qualifiers that were already underway.
Rejection is incapable of becoming a majority
But in the Olympic world at large, this rejection is unacceptable to the majority. The German Olympic Sports Confederation must admit that, with its stance against allowing starts for Russia and Belarus, “as one of 206 National Olympic Committees around the world, they are in the minority in international sport,” said DOSB President Thomas Weikert at “tagesschau .de ”.
A number of international federations, including major Olympic federations such as swimming and gymnastics, have reopened their doors, allowing Russia and Belarus to also meet the Paris qualification criteria. The group of world athletics associations that continue to ban athletes from both countries has continued to shrink in recent months. However, regarding the big question regarding the Paris 2024 agreement, the IOC continues to stall.
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