Bach sees “the decline of the international sports system” if athletes are excluded for political reasons

ESSEN (GERMANY), 23 Mar. (dpa/EP) –

The president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, once again called on politicians to allow a separation between sport and politics in connection with a possible return of athletes from Russia and Belarus to the Olympic Games and other major events, because If they are excluded by the war in Ukraine, it could lead to “the decline of the international sports system.”

During his speech this Wednesday at a forum in the German town of Essen, the German recalled that if politicians make decisions about who can or cannot participate in sports competitions for political reasons, then sport and athletes “become a mere instrument about politic”. “Then it is impossible for the sport to convey their common values,” he said.

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russian and Belarusian athletes have been prohibited from participating in most major sporting events, with exceptions such as tennis, but the IOC is now studying the possibility of their return as neutrals, even for the Olympic Games in Paris next year, which has raised a wave of rejection and threats of a possible boycott of the event.

“It is a dilemma for us and a completely new situation. If we exclude them for political reasons, we face the decline of the international sports system,” Bach considered, that if that point was reached, they would begin to see “Games organized by different political blocks that in no way represent the unifying nature of the sport across borders.”

“Only history will decide who has contributed the most to peace. Those who try to keep the lines of communication open and encourage dialogue, or those who isolate and divide,” added the IOC president who asked that they wish him “luck” in the future. to the important Executive Committee next week.