Czech Republic Bans Russians and Belarusians from Participating in Sports Competitions on its Territory
On June 28, the government of the Czech Republic agreed with the proposal of the Ministry of Education to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from participating in individual and team competitions on Czech soil. This ban also applies to Czech athletes representing their country in competitions held in Russia, according to Radio Prague International.
The proposal was put forward by sports federations and received support from the leadership of the National Sports Agency in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Since the spring of 2022, Russian and Belarusian athletes have been prohibited from participating in many international competitions.
Previously, the Czech Olympic Committee suggested that Russian and Belarusian athletes could be allowed to participate in the Summer Olympics in Paris, but only under a neutral flag and after signing a statement condemning any aggression against UN member states by other countries. Thus, Russian and Belarusian athletes would effectively condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
At the same time, the Czech Olympic Committee continues to oppose any form of participation by Russian and Belarusian athletes in Olympic qualifications and the 2024 Summer Olympics.
"The position of the Czech Olympic Committee remains absolutely clear and unchanged. The proposal of the expert group, which the Czech side will submit to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), is to allow possible participation in the Olympic Games by certain Russian and Belarusian athletes who are not military personnel or employees of security structures. The condition for accreditation is the signing of the mentioned statement," emphasized Jiří Kejval, the chairman of the Czech Olympic Committee.
However, the Czech Olympic Committee does not consider the possibility of boycotting the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, even if athletes from Russia and Belarus participate.
In June, legendary Czech athlete Dominik Hašek visited Ukraine. The two-time Stanley Cup winner and Olympic champion of 1998 visited Kharkiv, Kyiv, Bucha, Irpin, and Vinnytsia.
"Eventually, the war will end, and Ukraine will start its reconstruction. In my opinion, the European and world community should protect Ukrainian hockey and rebuild the destroyed arenas because Ukraine is defending all of us," said Dominik Hašek.
Dominik Hašek has repeatedly spoken out against the participation of Russians and Belarusians in the Olympic Games, emphasizing that their inclusion would be promoting war.
Currently, the position of the International Olympic Committee is that Russians and Belarusians can participate in international competitions as neutral athletes. Currently, they are considering the possibility of admitting athletes from Russia and Belarus as a refugee team for the 2024 Olympics. Meanwhile, FIFA continues to finance the Russian Football Union for football development programs and does not consider the possibility of suspending Russian teams from participating in international competitions.