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    Renewed Call for Olympic Ban on Russia and Belarus Includes Poland Amongst Participating States

    Poland has joined hands with 35 other countries in releasing a joint statement, expressing their opposition towards the inclusion of Russian and Belarusian athletes in international competitions, which also includes the upcoming Olympic Games.

    The Polish Minister of Sport, along with counterparts from 24 EU nations, as well as the United States, Australia, Great Britain, Canada, New Zealand, Ukraine, South Korea, Japan, Norway, Iceland, Albania and Lichtenstein, signed the statement opposing the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in international competitions. This marks the fourth joint statement released by the sports ministries of these countries, indicating a strong and continued effort to uphold the principles of fair play and integrity in international sports.

    Thursday saw the release of the document, which made it clear that the signatories were unwavering in their stance against allowing the Russian state to use sport as a means of legitimizing its aggressive actions, including the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. The document highlighted the fact that the Russian state has broken the Olympic Truce twice and that it would be unacceptable for it to continue using sports as a way of furthering its agenda. Furthermore, the statement also made it clear that the Belarusian state must not be allowed to use sports to legitimize its complicity in Russia’s war of aggression, thereby standing in solidarity with the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

    The International Olympic Committee (IOC) proposed in late January that Russian and Belarusian athletes be allowed to participate in the 2024 Paris Olympics, albeit under certain restrictions.

    In March, despite ongoing concerns about the war in Ukraine, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) officially granted permission for international competition by Russian and Belarusian passport holders, subject to certain conditions.

    “On the IOC recommendations, we are clear that while some aspects of the strong concerns we raised in our collective statement of 21 February 2023 have been addressed by the IOC, there are substantial issues remaining, not least around military connections of athletes, state funding, the definition of what constitutes teams, and on enforcement mechanisms,”

    Thursday’s statement read.

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