IOC suspends Russian Olympic Committee for incorporating Ukrainian sports regions

The Russian Olympic Committee has been suspended by the IOC for breaching the Olympic Charter by incorporating sports bodies in four regions in eastern Ukraine

ByThe Associated Press

October 12, 2023, 9:49 AM

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach arrives to attend on the first day of the executive board meeting of the IOC ahead of the upcoming 141st IOC session in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023.(AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

The Associated Press

MUMBAI, India — The Russian Olympic Committee was suspended by the IOC on Thursday for breaching the Olympic Charter by incorporating sports bodies in four regions in eastern Ukraine.

Last week, Russian Olympic officials provoked the dispute by including the sports councils in Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia as its members.

“(This) unilateral decision,” the International Olympic Committee said in a statement, “constitutes a breach of the Olympic Charter because it violates the territorial integrity of the NOC of Ukraine, as recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in accordance with the Olympic Charter.”

The provocation in sports politics finally pushed the IOC to suspend the Russian Olympic body, a move which it has resisted during the near 20 months since the country invaded Ukraine.

The decision by the IOC executive board comes seven months after it publicly supported Russian athletes by advising governing bodies of Olympic sports to find ways of returning them to international competitions ahead of next year’s Paris Olympics.

That IOC policy to ease a blanket ban was in defiance of calls from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and many Ukrainian athletes to maintain the exclusion of athletes from Russia and Belarus.

Those vetting processes by different sports will continue despite the IOC suspension imposed Thursday, which does not affect Belarus.

“The suspension of the national Olympic committee doesn’t affect in any way the participation of independent athletes,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said at a news conference after the board meeting.

Adams said the Russian Olympic Committee had been informed of its suspension before the IOC announced it publicly.

Russia remains excluded from international events in team sports.


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