Paris Olympics: As much as 40 international locations might boycott Video games, says Poland sports activities minister

Russia team arriving at Tokyo 2020
The IOC is engaged on plans to permit Russian and Belarussian athletes to compete on the 2024 Video games underneath a impartial flag

As much as 40 international locations might boycott the subsequent Olympic Video games, making the entire occasion pointless, stated 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 stated on Thursday that any boycott would solely “punish athletes”.

Bortniczuk stated he believed it could be attainable to construct a coalition of 40 international locations, 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: “Contemplating this I do not assume we are going to face powerful selections earlier than the Olympics and, if we had been to boycott the Video games, the coalition we might be part of might be broad sufficient to make holding the Video games pointless.”

The IOC introduced final week that it could “discover a pathway” to permit Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in Paris underneath a impartial flag, including that “no athlete must be prevented from competing simply due to their passport”.

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

Ukraine sports activities minister Vadym Guttsait stated 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.

Nonetheless, IOC president Thomas Bach has since stated that was solely meant as a “protecting” measure in direction of these athletes, and now insists they shouldn’t be discriminated in opposition to.

On Thursday, sports activities ministers from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland stated “any effort by the Worldwide Olympic Committee to carry again Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete, even underneath a impartial flag, must be rejected”.

They added: “Efforts to return Russian and Belarusian athletes to worldwide sports activities competitions underneath the veil of neutrality legitimize political selections and widespread propaganda of those international locations.”

And so they known as on “all worldwide sports activities organisations and federations” to take away Russian and Belarusians athletes from worldwide competitions till the warfare ends.

The US authorities stated 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 international locations.

White Home press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre added that, if athletes are permitted to take part in occasions such because the Olympics, it must be as impartial athletes and “it must be completely clear that they aren’t 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 in regards to the implications of threatening a boycott.

“Threatening a boycott of the Olympic Video games, which the NOC of Ukraine is at the moment contemplating, goes in opposition to the basics of the Olympic motion and the ideas it stands for,” the IOC wrote in a question-and-answer doc revealed on Thursday.

“A boycott is a violation of the Olympic constitution, which obliges all NOCs to ‘take part within the Video games of the Olympiad by sending athletes’. As historical past has proven, earlier boycotts didn’t obtain their political ends and served solely to punish the athletes of the boycotting NOCs.”