IOC Bans UK from Olympic 2024 Qualification Due to "Discrimination" Against Russian and Belarusian Athletes
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has banned the UK from conducting qualifying competitions for new sports at the 2024 Olympics due to the stance of the UK government regarding the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes.
The IOC Executive Board informed the British Olympic Association (BOA) that London will no longer be considered as the venue for the competitions and is currently exploring alternative options in Europe for hosting these events.
This decision by the IOC is linked to the insistence of the UK government that Russian and Belarusian athletes must sign a personal declaration of neutrality and agree not to support the war in Ukraine if they want to compete in the UK.
The athletes must also declare that they do not support the leadership of Russian President Vladimir Putin and that they cannot receive any state funding from Russia.
The decision has reportedly caused concern in British Olympic circles, as they were hoping for British athletes to compete in new sports in front of their home audience as part of their efforts to secure a place in Paris next month. Now they will have to travel abroad to do so.
It should be noted that the IOC supported Russian and Belarusian athletes participating in the Asian Games. The International Olympic Committee on Thursday welcomed the decision of the Olympic Council of Asia to allow individual neutral athletes with Russian or Belarusian passports to compete in the upcoming Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
Last week, the IOC approved the participation of up to 500 Russian and Belarusian athletes under a neutral flag in the Games, which will take place from September 23 to October 8.
This step was taken to help athletes qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris after they were largely barred from international sports competitions following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, supported by Belarus.
In Hangzhou, the athletes will only compete in individual events and will not be eligible for medals.
Russia and Belarus have never competed in the Asian Games before, but the Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan, which were formerly part of the Soviet Union, are permanent participants.