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IOC rejects Putin’s ‘ethnic discrimination’ claims

The International Olympic Committee on Friday firmly rejected Russian President Vladimir Putin’s allegation that it was using “ethnic discrimination” against Russian and Belarusian athletes ahead of the 2024 Paris Games.

Putin on Thursday slammed the IOC for potentially using the Games “as an instrument of political pressure towards those people who have nothing to do with politics.”

The IOC dismissed the accusations. 

“Participation in the Olympic Games is by no means a human right and the recent amendment of the Olympic Charter is not related to it… We firmly reject the accusations being made that these measures are an ‘ethnic discrimination’,” the IOC said in a statement.

“The strict conditions the IOC has defined in its recommendations to the International Federations for the participation of individual neutral athletes with a Russian or Belarusian passport in international competitions are compliant with the Olympic Charter.

“They are a reaction to the breach of the Olympic Charter by the Russian and Belarusian governments.” 

The IOC still has to make a final ruling on whether athletes from Russia and Belarus, a key ally for Moscow in its offensive on Ukraine, will be permitted to compete next summer.

The IOC last week suspended Russia’s National Olympic Committee for violating the territorial integrity of Ukraine’s membership by recognising regional organisations in occupied Ukraine.

Russia launched a full-scale offensive against Ukraine in February 2022, with its neighbour Belarus allowing Moscow’s troops to use its territory as a launchpad.

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