Paris Olympics: Up to 40 nations might boycott Games, says Poland sports activities minister

The IOC is engaged on plans to permit Russian and Belarussian athletes to compete on the 2024 Games beneath a impartial flag

Up to 40 nations might boycott the following Olympic Games, making the entire occasion pointless, mentioned Poland’s sport and tourism minister Kamil Bortniczuk.

His feedback got here after Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia collectively rejected an Worldwide Olympic Committee (IOC) plan to permit Russians and Belarusians to compete in 2024.

Ukraine has threatened to boycott the Paris Olympics if that happens.

However the IOC mentioned on Thursday that any boycott would solely “punish athletes”.

Bortniczuk mentioned he believed it will be doable to construct a coalition of 40 nations, together with Nice Britain, america and Canada, to help a block on the IOC’s plans earlier than a gathering on 10 February.

He added: “Considering this I don’t think we will face tough decisions before the Olympics and, if we were to boycott the Games, the coalition we will be a part of will be broad enough to make holding the Games pointless.”

The IOC introduced final week that it will “explore a pathway” to permit Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in Paris beneath a impartial flag, including that “no athlete should be prevented from competing just because of their passport”.

The transfer prompted condemnation, with the UK Authorities saying the plan was a “world away from the reality of war”.

Ukraine sports activities minister Vadym Guttsait mentioned the nation’s sporting our bodies wanted to “strengthen communication” with worldwide federations to maintain a ban in place on Russian and Belarusian athletes, which was imposed by the IOC’s government committee instantly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Nevertheless, IOC president Thomas Bach has since mentioned that was solely meant as a “protective” measure in direction of these athletes, and now insists they shouldn’t be discriminated towards.

On Thursday, sports activities ministers from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland mentioned “any effort by the International Olympic Committee to bring back Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete, even under a neutral flag, should be rejected”.

They added: “Efforts to return Russian and Belarusian athletes to international sports competitions under the veil of neutrality legitimize political decisions and widespread propaganda of these countries.”

They usually referred to as on “all international sports organisations and federations” to take away Russian and Belarusians athletes from worldwide competitions till the conflict ends.

The USA authorities mentioned it helps suspending Russian and Belarusian sport governing our bodies from worldwide sports activities organisations and can be encouraging organisations to cease broadcasting occasions into each nations.

White Home press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre added that, if athletes are permitted to take part in occasions such because the Olympics, it ought to be as impartial athletes and “it should be absolutely clear that they are not representing the Russian or Belarusian states”.

The IOC reiterated that no discussions on the return of Russian and Belarusian athletes to competitors had but taken place and warned Ukraine and different nations concerning the implications of threatening a boycott.

“Threatening a boycott of the Olympic Games, which the NOC of Ukraine is currently considering, goes against the fundamentals of the Olympic movement and the principles it stands for,” the IOC wrote in a question-and-answer doc revealed on Thursday.

“A boycott is a violation of the Olympic charter, which obliges all NOCs to ‘participate in the Games of the Olympiad by sending athletes’. As history has shown, previous boycotts did not achieve their political ends and served only to punish the athletes of the boycotting NOCs.”