The President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach has set a simple condition for Russian athletes who wish to return to competition.
According to the condition, only the athletes who publicly denounce Russia’s war on Ukraine will be considered for a return to international competitions.
Bach made his comments during an interview with an Italian newspaper.
“It is not about necessarily having Russia back. It’s about having athletes with a Russian passport who do not support the war back in competition,”
“Here comes our dilemma – this war has not been started by the Russian athletes. But we saw that some governments did not want to respect anymore the autonomy of international sports…
“This is why we’ve had to take these protective measures to be at least still a little bit in the driving seat and not lose all autonomy.”
The IOC had directed relevant sports governing bodies in February to remove Russian and Belarusian athletes from the competitions which included Russia being removed from this year’s FIFA World Cup as well.
But recently the IOC has begun the process of creating pathway programs which would allow the Russian athletes to return to their competitions.
The German, however, assured that the current guidance on Russian athletes was still standing but added that the IOC also needed to think about the future.
“The Olympic Movement has as a mission to contribute to peace, so we have to see how we can contribute to peace.
“I think our major contribution is to have the Olympic Games and to have sport in general, as something that still unifies people and humanity.”