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    On 25 February and 28 February 2022, the IOC Executive Board issued recommendations to the international sports federations not to invite or allow the participation of Russian athletes in international sports competitions and also on staging international competitions on the territory of the Russian Federation.

    In the recommendation dated 25 February 2022, the IOC called for all international sports federations to cancel or relocate all international competitions that were scheduled to take place on the territory of the Russian Federation, as well as to introduce a special procedure for participation of Russian athletes in international competitions: without the national flag of the Russian Federation and the national anthem of the Russian Federation during these competitions.

    In the recommendation dated 28 February 2022, the IOC recommended the international sports federations to completely ban Russian athletes from international sports competitions.

    These hasty and uncertain actions by the IOC, which has always acted on the principles of protecting the rights and interests of athletes, clearly indicate outside interference by forces which are far from the ideals of sport and Olympic values.

    To justify its decisions, the IOC referred to the alleged violation by the Russian government of the Olympic Truce, proclaimed by the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly (UN) of 2 December 2021.

    Following the publication of the decisions of the IOC Executive Board of 28 February 2022, almost all international sports federations and European Olympic Committees made an emergency decision to ban Russian athletes from international competitions staged under the auspices of the corresponding international federations and the EOC, respectively.

    At the same time, no specific time limits for the imposed restrictions are envisaged, which makes them “de facto” indefinite.

    Besides, neither the IOC’s recommendation of 28 February 2022, nor the decisions of other international sports organizations provide ANY LEGAL BASIS for the decisions in question.

    In this regard, the Russian Olympic Committee Executive Board considers it necessary to clearly state its position regarding the steps and decisions taken by the IOC and international sports organizations, in particular the indefinite ban for the Russian athletes to participate in international competitions.

    The ROC Executive Board believes that these actions are unreasonable and discriminatory towards Russian athletes and sports organizations.

    First of all, it should be noted that the Olympic Charter does not contain any mention of the “Olympic Truce”. This category is used exclusively in resolutions of the UN General Assembly, is addressed to the subjects of international law – member states of the United Nations and cannot be used as a pretext for discrimination against athletes (citizens) from a particular country by international sports organizations in any way.

    At the same time, their decisions violate the fundamental principles of Olympism, explicitly and unambiguously enshrined in the Olympic Charter:

    1. The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practising sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.
    2. Recognising that sport occurs within the framework of society, sports organisations within the Olympic Movement shall apply political neutrality. They have the rights and obligations of autonomy, which include freely establishing and controlling the rules of sport, determining the structure and governance of their organisations, enjoying the right of elections free from any outside influence and the responsibility for ensuring that principles of good governance be applied.
    3. The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Olympic Charter shall be secured without discrimination of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

    Moreover, one of the main objectives of the International Olympic Committee is “to take action to strengthen the unity of the Olympic Movement, to protect its independence, to maintain and promote its political neutrality and to preserve the autonomy of sport” as well as “to act against any form of discrimination affecting the Olympic Movement” (Rules 2.5 and 2.6 of the Olympic Charter).

    Unfortunately, recommendations of the IOC of 25 February and 28 February 2022 as well as decision of our colleagues from international organizations about permanent ban of Russian athletes from international competitions, in our opinion, grossly violate the above mentioned principles of the international Olympic movement.

    Russian athletes are discriminated on the basis of nationality and citizenship, they are deprived of the right to participate in international competitions without the slightest reason.

    Ironically, the IOC explicitly stated in its decision of 28 February 2022 that punishment of innocent athletes is unfair and that the IOC allegedly stands for fair competition without any discrimination.

    Nevertheless, as a result of the decisions taken, thousands of Russian athletes are currently deprived of the opportunity to compete in international competitions simply because they are citizens of the Russian Federation.

    These restrictions are unprecedented in their scope and negative consequences for young Russian athletes who have chosen sports as their profession.

    The Russian Olympic Committee strongly believes that sport should, under any circumstances, stay out of politics, and it is unacceptable to use athletes as hostages in pursuing the objectives of various geopolitical forces and certain players.

    For that very reason, we are deeply convinced that any decision that violates the foundations of the international Olympic movement is unlawful.

    The Russian Olympic Committee has always defended and will continue defending the legitimate rights and interests of Russian athletes in the international arena, and is ready to provide all possible support to our athletes and national sports federations in protecting their violated rights in court and by other civilized means.


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