Russia and Belarus could face Paris 2024 ban, says IOC’s Reedie

Athletes from Russia and Belarus may not be allowed to participate in the Paris 2024 Olympics due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, said Craig Reedie, a senior member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The IOC issued guidelines to the sport’s governing bodies in February to remove athletes from both countries from competition. Belarus was used as a base for the Russian invasion, which Moscow calls a “special military operation”.

“A decision is going to have to be made on what happens to each of these two countries, and I guess the general feeling would be that they should not qualify,” said former IOC vice-president Reedie. , to the British media.

“Most people wonder 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.”

Athletes will miss qualifying events for Paris because of the measures, and IOC President Thomas Bach said in May that Russia’s participation in the Olympics was unclear.

The IOC has not, however, sanctioned or banned Russian members who sit on the Committee from participating in Olympic meetings, nor has it sanctioned the Russian Olympic Committee.

Of the sports on the Olympic schedule, only cycling, tennis and judo have allowed Russians and Belarusians to continue competing, but Reedie said he doubts even athletes from those sports will be allowed to compete. qualifying.

Reedie, who is also the former president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), said it would be unrealistic to allow athletes to compete in qualifying competitions once they have started.

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

“There is therefore a real problem for the federations, which have a clear instruction on which they have agreed not to invite Russians and Belarusians to participate in the events.

“On the face of it, it’s unlikely anyone else will qualify than these three sports that don’t do it that way. And will they be able to qualify? [from those three sports]? I am not sure.”

Naomi C. Amerson