IOC President Thomas Bach: "We know the view of Ukraine, which not only wants to isolate Russia as a state, but is pursuing the total isolation of all Russians"
Photo: Bernd Weissbrod / dpa
IOC President Thomas Bach has spoken out in principle for a return of Russian athletes to world sport.
It "does not correspond to the values and the mission of the Olympic charter to exclude athletes because of their passport," said Bach on the sidelines of the luge world championships in Oberhof.
"Possibly," said Bach, "Russian and Belarusian athletes could compete under a neutral flag" at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
Only on Thursday did the International Olympic Committee (IOC) outline a concept for reintegration, for which, according to the organization, there is broad support from IOC members, athletes' representatives, international sports federations and national Olympic committees.
The prerequisites are the start as neutral athletes and a “clear commitment” to the Olympic charter.
Accordingly, "only those who have not violated the IOC's peacekeeping mission by actively supporting the war in Ukraine" are allowed to participate.
The mission of the International Olympic Committee is to "bring together all athletes from all over the world, that's the special symbol of the Olympics," said Bach.
Possible boycott of Ukraine 'not in line with our mission'
A threatening boycott of Ukraine, which Sports Minister Wadym Hutzajt had threatened on Facebook, is in this case “not in line with our mission.
We know the view of the Ukraine, which not only wants to isolate Russia as a state, but also aims for the total isolation of all Russians," said the 69-year-old.
Bach repeatedly emphasized the "three-part principles" in dealing with the topic of Ukraine.
The sanctions against Russia, namely no identification, no international competitions on Russian soil and no invitation for government representatives, are to be maintained, solidarity with Ukrainian athletes remains - but the individual athlete must not be discriminated against by exclusion "even if countries are in conflict condition".
All in all, however, the return of Russian and Belarusian athletes is still “under consultation”, according to Bach.