General feeling would be Russia, Belarus should not qualify for Paris 2024: Former IOC vice-president

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued guidance to sports governing bodies in February this year to remove Russian and Belarusian athletes from the event.

Former IOC Vice-President Craig Reedie during a press conference.

Former IOC Vice-President Craig Reedie during a press conference. (Courtesy: Reuters)

HIGHLIGHTS

  • IOC issued guidance to remove Russian and Belarusian athletes
  • Former IOC VP says athletes may miss qualification for 2024
  • Russian members who sit on IOC haven’t been sanctioned or banned

Russian and Belarusian athletes may not be able to compete at the Paris 2024 Games due to the invasion of Ukraine, former International Olympic Committee (IOC) Vice-President Craig Reedie said.

The IOC had issued guidance to sports governing bodies in February this year to remove Russian and Belarusian athletes from the event. Belarus has been used as a staging ground for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“A decision is going to have to be taken on what happens to each of these two countries, and my guess is that the general feeling would be that they should not qualify,” Reedie was quoted saying.

“Most people are struggling with how we could achieve some degree of representation, but at the moment, there is no clear way to do it. Therefore, you maintain the status quo.”

There are chances that athletes may miss the qualification events for the Paris Games. The IOC President Thomas Bach had earlier in May said that Russia’s participation at the event was unclear.

Notably, Russian members who sit on the IOC have neither been sanctioned nor banned from taking part in Olympic meetings.

Among the sports on the Olympics programme, only cycling, tennis and judo have allowed Russian and Belarusian athletes to continue to compete. However, Reedie added that he doubted whether those athletes would be permitted to compete in the qualifying events.

“It’s quite difficult halfway through to say, ‘All of you who have now qualified we’ve changed the rules’.

“So there’s a real issue for the federations, who have a clear instruction which they’ve agreed to that they won’t invite Russians and Belarusians to take part in events.

“On the face of it, it’s unlikely that anybody would qualify other than those three sports which don’t do it that way. And will they be able to qualify (from those three sports)? I’m not sure.”

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