An extraordinary session of the International Olympic Committee was held, one of the most important issues of which was the admission of Russian and Belarusian athletes to international competitions and the Olympic Games. As you know, shortly before the event, insider information appeared that the IOC would allow athletes from both countries to the Games, but on the same terms as the refugee team.
Some experts suggested that the decision could be officially announced at the session. However, the forecasts did not come true, and all discussions of this topical topic were reduced to the previous rhetoric. Thus, IOC President Thomas Bach once again stated that the situation is very difficult, so the final point in the discussions has not yet been set. "The decision will not be easy," the head of the organization emphasized.
He also said that he had discussed the issue of the speech of Russians and Belarusians in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron two weeks ago. According to Bach, "the decision will be made by the IOC at the right time," and stakeholder engagement will continue. The head of the Olympic movement could not report anything more specific. He repeated what he had said many times about the dangers posed to world sport by attempts by some Governments to interfere in it.
"If someone from the outside decides who to admit and who not, then everything will come to the point that only those who coincide in political views will compete. This will lead to the fact that there will be different competitions where politically friendly countries will perform. Then the Olympics will simply cease to make sense," Bach said.
The functionary also spoke about the position of the IOC regarding Russian-Ukrainian relations. He criticized both sides, called their approaches irrational and made it clear that the committee was caught between two fires and could not fully support either of them.
In addition, he complained that the Ukrainian leadership prohibits its athletes from taking part in tournaments where Russians and Belarusians compete, and thereby deprive them of the opportunity to win licenses for the Olympic Games. According to him, it is difficult to understand why tennis players from Ukraine can perform in the international arena, and, for example, swimmers and cyclists cannot.
Separately, Bach touched upon the decision of the Polish government not to issue visas to Russian athletes to participate in the European Games. Recall that in this regard, the International Fencing Federation even deprived the tournament of the status of qualifying for the Olympics in Paris. The President of the IOC directly called these actions discriminatory.
"It's all going against what we want and against what we're fighting for," Bach said.
Another important issue that was discussed at the IOC session was the status of the International Boxing Association. As you know, the recognition of the IBA was suspended in 2019, and on June 7, the executive committee of the Olympic Committee recommended that it be completely withdrawn, since, according to the auditors, the federation did not fulfill a number of requirements for the organization of its operating activities. The participants of the session almost unanimously voted in favor of approving the recommendation of the Executive Committee - 69 votes to 1 and 10 abstentions.
One of the main claims against IBA, according to the report of IOC Director General Christoph de Kepper, was cooperation with the Russian company Gazprom. In addition, the official noted that the leadership of the federation showed complete disrespect for the principles of international sports on the eve of the 2024 Olympics.
"They showed a lack of understanding of what we want to see from them. To protect the interests of the sport, we decided to give the IBA a second chance. In 2019, the IBA did not meet our requirements. Over the years, they have done almost nothing to change the situation. As a result, we came to the conclusion that the IBA should not organize a boxing tournament at the Olympics in Paris," said the representative of the IOC.
At the same time, he assured that boxing as a sport will be preserved in the program of the 2028 Games in Los Angeles, although the Olympic tournament will not be held by the IBA.