Good afternoon, dear friends!
First of all, I would like to thank the organizers and ideologists of this Forum, which gathers such a representative group of people on its discussion platforms. We discuss extremely important issues that allow us to forge new humanitarian bonds, strengthen bridges of practical interaction, and ultimately procreate. Together, in mutual respect, without the claims to any exclusivity so often encountered today.
I am sure that most people are aware of what is going on in world sports. For decades, the Olympic and international sports community has adhered to the rules and principles of the Olympic Charter, the fundamental and universal set of rules for sport. Today, the IOC Charter is being undermined by inconsistent ad hoc decisions whose true nature they try to hide by calling them “recommendations.” Unfortunately, today the admission or non-admission of athletes to international competitions, restrictions, sanctions, conditions and criteria – this is a sports puppet show where the strings are pulled by biased and politicized figures. The rest of them need only read the text aloud, like a character in a play, to fulfill the assigned role. In farce.
Justly says one of the wisdoms of Islam – “actions are judged by intent, and every action will be rewarded according to intent.” The intentions are clearly understood. Nothing but a farce. Where the rights of our athletes continue to be brutally violated and even the fact that independent UN experts point to numerous cases of discrimination by the IOC and other international sports organizations is taken into account only selectively.
Today, the move away from reliance on the Olympic Charter and the fundamental principles of sport is being tried faster, higher, and harder to enforce in the Olympic community. A kind of pandemic of self-destruction of Olympic unity and solidarity, which undercuts the recent addition to the motto: “together”.
And the motto, meanwhile, is correct and timely. And all the current work of the Russian Olympic Committee is based on practical cooperation with partners interested in real development, not on empty propaganda and slogans.
We hold a significant number of bilateral talks with colleagues from Asian, African, and Latin American NOCs. And we continue to expand the circle of organizations interested in developing constructive relationships.
And it is encouraging to note that this dialog already goes beyond sports or the Olympics to encompass other areas of humanitarian activity. After all, we are all interested in the full realization not only of the sporting but also of the civil rights of the representatives of our countries and civilizations. Our common mission is to make this imperfect world, the very life of people better through sports. And we see the almost limitless possibilities that sport offers at the intersection of the social, cultural, educational and outreach fields.
One example is the Children of Asia International Sports Games, where young athletes actually discover a new world. Full of friendliness, joy and hospitality, open to all and uniting all kinds of people under the flag of kindness. Of course, we, for our part, fully support such inherently Olympic projects. I take this opportunity to invite you to join both the Winter and Summer Children of Asia Games.
Or the now-traditional International Young Olympians Forum, which the ROC holds annually on June 1, the International Children’s Day. The circle of participants is constantly expanding, and we can clearly see that personal communication and discussion of issues that really affect the youth of today are of universal value and interest. This format knows no boundaries and forms universal knowledge, which in the future will definitely help young athletes in their career. Not only and not so much in terms of athletic performance, but in terms of the necessary communication skills and objective understanding of the world order.
After all, the unique phenomenon of sport is precisely that it is a proven, indispensable factor for diverse cooperation and exchange, social progress, socio-cultural development and the transfer of experience.
But instead of taking advantage of these unprecedented opportunities, sports today are trying to build walls that are deaf to the voice of common sense – dividing athletes into “fit” and “unfit” according to far-fetched criteria.
With a claim to the right to sort people according to their origin and passport and other parameters. No one gave such a right to sports organizations, it’s out of their jurisdiction. And yet it happens before our eyes. Segregation in its purest form!
This also includes numerous attempts in various ways to encourage Russian athletes to change their citizenship. To lure in a dubious kind of “perspective.” And without the approval of the Executive Committee of the Russian Olympic Committee, most of the athletes who would be dragged to another country in this way will not be able to participate in the Olympic Games in the next few years.
It is important that we do not take a position of total denial on this issue. But the premise is that uniform, non-discriminatory criteria should apply to athletes of all jurisdictions.
Either all with national symbols representing the Federation, the NOC or the country, or all in neutral status, as is now imposed only on the Russians and Belarusians. It should not be different – in international sport everyone should have the same rights and obligations.
The way the recent IOC recommendations have been worded really means that our athletes will be forced to break away from their homeland, their national teammates, and their involvement in anything related to their homeland. I will not even try to predict how much damage this can do to the entire Olympic movement in the short term.
In this context, on May 25, at the Executive Committee of ROC, we will make recommendations to our member organizations, especially to the all-Russian sports federations, regarding participation in events of international sports organizations.
One thing is obvious to us in the present circumstances. Sport, alas, is increasingly used not even as a tool, but as a weapon in the struggle for geopolitical advantage and influence. The initiators of this sporting race of hostility openly rely on the ideology of neocolonialism and promote neoliberal rhetoric – driving sport into the abyss of destruction.
But there are more and more who understand it! And our common task is to do whatever is necessary to combine our creative efforts and work together for progress and development. In the humanitarian sphere and in sports in particular. We offer our colleagues from other countries our colossal experience, accumulated practices, joint projects, programs and new areas of activity in the form of bilateral agreements, and we build our relations exclusively on the practical level, based on friendship, respect and the pursuit of multipolar leadership.