English Section

Russia, Belarus should be banned from 2024 Olympics: Polish sports minister

27.01.2023 17:30
The Polish sports minister has said that Russia and its ally Belarus should not be allowed to take part in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, adding that otherwise Poland may form an international coalition that will threaten to boycott the event. 
Polands Sports Minister Kamil Bortniczuk.
Poland's Sports Minister Kamil Bortniczuk.PAP/Piotr Nowak

Kamil Bortniczuk made the statement at a news conference on Friday, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.

It came after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Wednesday said that both Russia and Belarus had been invited to compete in the Asian Games, a key Olympic qualifier, according to news reports. 

The IOC also said it was in favour of Russia and Belarus fielding officially neutral teams at the 2024 Paris Olympics, Euronews reported.   

Poland’s Bortniczuk said: “I can’t imagine such a scenario.”

'Poland and other countries may issue an ultimatum'

Bortniczuk told reporters that “Poland and Britain are at the forefront” of efforts to create an international coalition against the participation of Russia and Belarus in next year’s Olympics. 

He added that if the IOC allowed Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete at the Paris Games, Poland and other countries may issue an ultimatum, the IAR news agency reported. 

“This will depend on whether it will be possible to create an effective coalition of countries without whom the Olympic Games couldn’t go ahead,” the Polish sports minister said.

x Kamil Bortniczuk   PAP/Piotr Nowak

Russia, Belarus banned from 2023 European Games in Poland

Meanwhile, the Polish Olympic Committee (PKOl) also expressed its opposition to Russia and Belarus taking part in the 2024 Olympics.

PKOl chairman Andrzej Kraśnicki said in a statement on Friday: “Until the barbaric war in Ukraine comes to an end, no Russian or Belarusian athlete should participate in international events, including the Olympic Games.”

Kraśnicki confirmed that Russia and Belarus had been banned from this year’s European Games, which will be held in Poland in the summer.    

"It’s not possible for the oppressor and its victim to compete in the same sporting arena," he said.

Ukraine threatens boycott of 2024 Olympics

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said he has told his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron that Russia should have “no place” at the 2024 Olympics, Euronews reported on Friday. 

A day earlier, Ukraine’s sports minister Vadim Guttsait warned that Kyiv could boycott the 2024 Paris Olympics if Russian and Belarusian athletes were allowed to compete, the Reuters news agency reported.

Guttsait said on Facebook: "Our position is unchanged: as long as there is a war in Ukraine, Russian and Belarusian athletes should not be in international competitions."

Ukraine’s top diplomat Dmytro Kuleba also criticised the IOC, Euronews reported.

Kuleba said in a tweet that by claiming that “no athlete should be prevented from competing just because of their passport,” the international Olympics body was “disregarding Russian war crimes.”

Friday is day 338 of Russia’s war against Ukraine. 


Source: IAR, PAP, Euronews, Reuters