Return of Russian athletes: IOC raked over the coals

The recommendation of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes back into international competitions has sparked fierce criticism. Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Piotr Wawrzyk spoke of "a day of shame for the IOC". Ukrainian athletes are now thinking of boycotting of competitions. Commentators shed light on motives and consequences.

Rzeczpospolita (PL) /

Exclusion is the only solution

Rzeczpospolita criticises the stance of the IOC President:

“Bach believes that it is sufficient punishment for Russia and Belarus if the IOC refuses to allow them to host international events and excludes their official delegations, flags and anthems. With regard to next year’s Games, the IOC has not taken a binding position, but nor is it closing the door on the aggressors. This puts the democratic West — including Poland — in a very difficult position. What if a humiliated Ukraine boycotts the Games? ... Games without Russia and Belarus are the only solution that can save them from losing face and credibility.”

Mirosław Żukowski
Tages-Anzeiger (CH) /

A moral no go

Human rights issues are no longer a concern for the IOC, the Tages-Anzeiger laments:

“Who’s talking about morals? To be re-elected, all [IOC President Bach] has to do is dole out the money as generously as possible. Like at Fifa. On important issues such as human rights, the major federations have moved backwards rather than forwards. Because of apartheid, South Africa was excluded from the Olympic Games for almost three decades, until 1991. But now a full-scale war is not enough reason to exclude Russia as the aggressor and Belarus as its main helper?”

Ueli Kägi
Kirill Shulika (RU) /

Bach managing to sit on two chairs

Blogger Kirill Schulika explains on Facebook that nothing has really been decided yet:

“There have been no discussions about the [2024] Olympic Games in Paris yet. A scheme for how the sports federations should admit Russian and Belarusian athletes in international competitions has been proposed. But this too is still largely in draft form. ... There are still a few months left to test it and get it into a working format for regular competitions. Only then will decisions be made on the Olympics. This compromise cannot be a good one, but it could also have turned out worse. Bach has once again managed to sit on two chairs.”

Kirill Shulika
Sme (SK) /

There is another way

Several national ice hockey federations have announced their intention of not nominating players who earn their money in the Russian league KHL for the upcoming IIHF World Championship. Sme is delighted that the Slovakian federation is now following suit:

“Ice hockey players from the KHL are anything but role models, because they knowingly support Putin’s regime. ... If the Slovakian ice hockey team doesn’t succeed at the World Championship, it may be a small sporting tragedy. But the really big tragedies are taking place under the rubble of bombed-out houses, in cellars full of frightened children and in the hearts of those who have lost their loved ones in the war in Ukraine — no matter which side. There are more important things in the world than ice hockey.”

Boris Vanya