Pour 30 pays dont la France « aucune raison de revenir sur l’exclusion des athlètes russes et biélorusses décidée par le CIO « 

La France, la Grande-Bretagne, la Suède, la Pologne mais aussi les Etats-Unis et le Canada étaient présents lors de la conférence du 11 février, lors de laquelle le président ukrainien Volodymir Zelensky était intervenu. Il avait notamment tenté de convaincre les ministres en estimant que la présence de sportifs russes aux Jeux de Paris serait « un signe de violence et d’impunité »

Depuis une coalition d’une trentaine de pays a demandé au Comité international olympique (CIO) des « clarifications » sur la neutralité exigée pour les sportifs russes et biélorusses conditionnant leur participation aux JO de Paris en 2024, dans une lettre adressée lundi 20 février à l’instance olympique.

« Nous sommes très inquiets quant à la faisabilité pour les athlètes olympiques russes et biélorusses de participer en tant que “neutres” (…) alors qu’ils sont financés et supportés par leurs Etats », expose le courrier. « Nous croyons fermement, étant donné que la situation n’a pas changé au sujet de l’agression de la Russie en Ukraine (…), qu’il n’y a aucune raison de revenir sur l’exclusion des athlètes russes et biélorusses décidée par le CIO », explique le courrier de la coalition.

Le courrier

Statement on Russia’s war on Ukraine and international sport

Updated 21 February 2023

Ministerial and senior representatives from our collective group of nations met on Friday 10 February. We were honoured to be joined by President Zelenskyy, who outlined the ongoing devastation being inflicted on Ukraine, including its sports infrastructure and athletes, due to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustifiable war of choice, facilitated by the Belarusian government. We reaffirmed our nations’ two previous collective statements of 8 March 2022 and 4 July 2022, and discussed the statement of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of 25 January 2023.

We welcomed the IOC’s reaffirmation and reinforcement of their existing sanctions in place, and their statement committing to solidarity and support for Ukrainian athletes and the Ukrainian Olympic Committee.

While recognising the autonomy of sports bodies, given the invasion of Ukraine and its devastation is ongoing, we agreed that the IOC’s proposal on exploring a pathway back to competition for individual Russian and Belarusian athletes raises many questions and concerns.

In its statement of 28 February 2022, the IOC recommended that Russian and Belarusian athletes not compete, in part because “many athletes from Ukraine are prevented from doing so [participating in sport events] because of the attack on their country.” Wherever such an exclusion was not possible on short notice for organisational or legal reasons, the IOC recommended that Russian or Belarusian nationals should be accepted only as neutral athletes and that no national symbols, colours, flags or anthems should be displayed.

We noted that the situation on the ground in Ukraine has only worsened since this statement. We firmly believe that, given there has been no change in the situation regarding the Russian aggression in Ukraine, and as an imperative for fairness and solidarity towards the Ukrainian athletes whose facilities have been destroyed and who have had to leave their country (or stay to fight for the defence of Ukraine in which very many have lost their lives), there is no practical reason to move away from the exclusion regime for Russian and Belarusian athletes set by the IOC in their statement of 28 February 2022.

We also noted that through their choices, action and ongoing invasion Russia broke the Olympic Truce that has been continuously supported by the United Nations General Assembly since 1993.

In our collective statement of 4 July 2022, in view of the non-discrimination principle, we recognised that Russian and Belarusian nationals could be allowed to compete as ‘neutral’ individuals, subject to conditions to ensure they are clearly not representing their states.

However, in Russia and Belarus sport and politics are closely intertwined. We have strong concerns on how feasible it is for Russian and Belarusian Olympic athletes to compete as ‘neutrals’ – under the IOC’s conditions of no identification with their country – when they are directly funded and supported by their states (unlike, for example, professional tennis players). The strong links and affiliations between Russian athletes and the Russian military are also of clear concern. Our collective approach throughout has therefore never been one of discrimination simply on the basis of nationality, but these strong concerns need to be dealt with by the IOC.

As long as these fundamental issues and the substantial lack of clarity and concrete detail on a workable ‘neutrality’ model are not addressed, we do not agree that Russian and Belarusian athletes should be allowed back into competition. Noting the IOC’s stated position that no final decisions have been made, we strongly urge the IOC to address the questions identified by all countries and reconsider its proposal accordingly. We also note that Russia and Belarus have it in their own hands to pave the way for their athletes’ full return to the international sports community, namely by ending the war they started.

Signed by:

AustraliaThe Hon Anika Wells MP, Minister for Sport
AustriaVice-Chancellor Werner Kogler, Minister of Arts and Culture, Civil Service and Sport
BelgiumBen Weyts, Vice-Prime Minister and Minister for Animal Welfare, Brussels Periphery, Education and Sport of the Flemish Government. This signature commits the Flemish Community, the French-speaking Community and the German-speaking Community of Belgium
CanadaThe Honourable Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Sport
CroatiaDr Nikolina Brnjac, Minister of Tourism and Sport
CyprusProdromos Prodromou, Minister of Education, Sport and Youth
Czech RepublicVladimír Balaš, Minister for Education, Youth and Sports, Ondřej Šebek, President of the National Sports Agency
DenmarkJakob Engel-Schmidt, Minister of Culture
EstoniaPiret Hartman, Minister of Culture
FinlandPetri Honkonen, Minister of Science and Culture
FranceAmélie Oudéa-Castéra, Minister of Sports and the Olympic and Paralympic Games
GermanyMahmut Özdemir MP, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community
GreeceLefteris Avgenakis, Deputy Minister of Culture and Sport, Responsible for Sport
IcelandÁsmundur Einar Daðason, Minister of Education and Children
IrelandThomas Byrne, Minister of State for Sport and Physical Education
ItalyAndrea Abodi, Minister for Sport and Youth
JapanH.E. NAGAOKA Keiko, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
Republic of KoreaH.E. PARK Bo Gyoon, Minister of Culture, Sports & Tourism
LatviaAnda Čakša, Minister of Education and Science
LiechtensteinH.E. Dominique Hasler, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Education and Sport
LithuaniaDr Jurgita Šiugždinienė, Minister of Education, Science and Sport
LuxembourgGeorges Engel, Minister of Sport
MaltaHon Clifton Grima, Minister for Education, Sport, Youth, Research and Innovation
NetherlandsConny Helder, Minister for Long-term Care and Sport
New ZealandHon Grant Robertson, Minister for Sport and Recreation
NorwayAnette Trettebergstuen, Minister of Culture and Equality
PolandKamil Bortniczuk, Minister of Sport and Tourism
PortugalJoão Paulo Correia, Secretary of State for Youth and Sport
RomaniaCarol-Eduard Novak, Minister of Sports
SlovakiaJán Horecký, Minister of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic
SloveniaMatjaž Han, Minister of the Economy, Tourism and Sport
SpainMiquel Octavi Iceta i Llorens, Minister of Culture and Sport
SwedenJakob Forssmed, Minister for Social Affairs and Public Health
United KingdomThe Rt Hon Lucy Frazer KC MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
United States of AmericaLee Satterfield, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs
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