Ukraine has threatened to boycott the Paris 2024 Olympics over the International Olympic Community (IOC)’s proposed plan to allow Russian and Belarussian athletes compete under a “neutral” banner.
The decision has been met with backlash from the UK Government and Ukraine, with Ukraine threatening to consider a boycott of the 2024 Paris Olympics if Russian and Belarus athletes are allowed to participate.
UK Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan has condemned the plan, stating that it “allows President Putin to legitimize his illegal war in Ukraine.”
Donelan added that the IOC’s position is “a world away from the reality of war being felt by the Ukrainian people” and that the UK Government will “work urgently across like-minded countries to ensure that solidarity continues on this issue.”
Ukraine’s sports minister Vadym Guttsait, who is also president of Ukraine’s National Olympic Committee, has also spoken out against the decision, stating that “as long as there is a war in Ukraine, Russian and Belarusian athletes should not be in international competitions.”
The executive committee of Ukraine’s National Olympic Committee has reportedly started consulting national sports federations over a possible boycott.
The IOC had advised international sports federations last February, in the days following the start of the invasion of Ukraine, to exclude athletes from their competitions, something IOC president Thomas Bach has since described as a measure to protect those athletes.
However, the IOC now calls on all athletes to be treated equally, regardless of the passport they hold, stating that “Governments must not decide which athletes can participate in which competition and which athletes cannot.”