The United Kingdom will continue to support a ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes in international sporting events, including at next year’s Olympics, the culture secretary, Lucy Frazer, has said. More than 30 nations, including the UK, the United States, France and Germany, have pledged their support for the ban to stay in place while the war continues.
Russian athletes must suffer for the sins of their government in a way that others do not.
The banning of Saudi athletes has never been seriously proposed, despite the terror inflicted on Yemen, Saudi Arabia’s record of human rights abuses, and the brutal murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Israel has also avoided such bans, despite its persecution of Palestinians.
In response to a 2021 attempt by Malaysia to restrict Israeli athletes from participating in the world squash championships, International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued a letter that stated, “Countries that bar athletes from other countries will not be allowed to host international sports championships.”
The IOC has thus far stood by Russian athletes’ right to participate.
Committee president, Thomas Bach, , “It is not up to governments to decide who can take part in which sports competitions because this would be the end of international sports competitions and world championships and the Olympic Games as we know it.”
The Committee maintains Russian participation may need to take place under a neutral flag, however. If that were the case, it would be logical to ban Saudi and Israeli flags also. Such an action would signal that all war crimes deserve condemnation.