Anne Hidalgo (picture from March 2022)
The controversy surrounding the possible participation of athletes from Russia and Belarus in the Summer Olympics in Paris in 2024 is spreading.
Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of the host city, has spoken out against athletes from both countries competing under strict neutrality “as long as there is war” in Ukraine.
She said this on Tuesday in an interview with radio station France Info.
From her point of view, under the prevailing circumstances, it is “inconceivable that we would allow a country that is attacking another country to march up as if nothing had happened.
That a delegation is coming to Paris while the bombs continue to rain down on Ukraine,” said the 63-year-old.
In an interview at the end of January, Hidalgo spoke out in favor of participating "under a neutral banner" so as not to "take the athletes away from their competition".
This was a compromise, which she now considers "indecent".
Bach in principle for the return of Russian athletes
Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), spoke 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," Bach said 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.
(Read more here.)
The IOC had previously outlined a concept for reintegration, which, according to the organization, had 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.
Several government representatives and athletes, especially from Europe, had recently taken a stand against the admission of athletes from both countries, even under strict neutrality, out of solidarity with Ukraine, which had been attacked by Russia in February 2022.
Belarus is an ally of Russia in the Ukraine war.