Poland is among is among 36 countries that have signed a statement opposing the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in international competitions, including the Olympic Games.
The statement was signed by the Polish minister of sport and his counterparts from 24 EU states as well as the USA, Australia, Great Britain, Canada, New Zealand, Ukraine, South Korea, Japan, Norway, Iceland, Albania and Lichtenstein. It is the fourth statement issued jointly by the sports ministries of the various countries.
The document, released on Thursday, stated that the signatories “maintain that the Russian state, which has broken the Olympic Truce twice, must not be allowed to use sport to legitimise its barbaric and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, nor should the Belarusian state be able to use sport to legitimise its complicity in Russia’s war of aggression.”
In late January, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) proposed that Russians and Belarusians should be permitted to compete in the 2024 Paris Olympics though without the possibility of showing national colours or playing their countries’ anthems.
In March, the IOC officially permitted international competition by Russian and Belarusian passport holders despite the ongoing war in Ukraine, but with the above restrictions as well as a ban on actively supporting armed conflict or being a member of the two countries’ armed forces. In addition, they were only permitted to take part in individual competitions.
“On the IOC recommendations, we are clear that while some aspects of the strong concerns we raised in our collective statement of 21 February 2023 have been addressed by the IOC, there are substantial issues remaining, not least around military connections of athletes, state funding, the definition of what constitutes teams, and on enforcement mechanisms,” Thursday’s statement read.