Saeima Sports Subcommittee strongly condemns International Olympic Committee’s statement on Russian and Belarusian athletes’ participation in international competitions

(27.01.2023.)

On Friday, 27 January, the Sports Committee of the Saeima Education, Culture and Science Committee condemned the statement by the International Olympic Committee, announcing that Russian and Belarusian athletes should not be banned from participating in international competitions and that they should instead be allowed to compete as neutral athletes without representing their country or sports federation.

In a letter addressed to the sports organisations of Latvia, the Saeima Sports Subcommittee states that Russian and Belarusian athletes competing in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games would be in flagrant contradiction to the values defined by the international athletic community and the International Olympic Committee itself, and it would be categorically unacceptable.

The letter also states that by seeking special forms of participation for Russian and Belarusian athletes, the International Olympic Committee is allowing to use international sports events, the Olympic Games in particular, as a way to normalise, legitimise, and distract from Russia’s illegal war of aggression in Ukraine.

According to the letter, “allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in international sports events means supporting Russia’s crimes and the war in Ukraine behind the veil of neutrality.”

The letter by the Saeima MPs condemning the International Olympic Committee’s statement was addressed to the Latvian Olympic Committee, the Latvian Paralympic Committee, the Latvian Sports Federations Council, and the Latvian Team Sports Association.

In the letter, the Saeima Sports Subcommittee calls on sports federations and athletes to publically and openly express their opinion on the plans of the International Olympic Committee, thus clearly and unequivocally demonstrating in the public space that the Latvian people and athletes are committed to the principles that unite the international athletic community and democratic world.

 

Saeima Press Service

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