The African Olympic Committees have come out in favor of the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. They align themselves with the position of the International Olympic Committee.
Meeting on Saturday in Mauritania, the African Olympic Committees announced that they were in favor of the presence of Russian and Belarusian athletes at the Paris Olympic Games next year, despite the conflict in Ukraine led by the Russian army.
This is also the opinion of ANOCA, which “has given its agreement to reaffirm that politics cannot put pressure on sport and take away from it all its values of nobility which revolve around peace, Unity and solidarity”: “the athletes must in no case pay the heavy price of a conflict whatever it is and wherever it is”, indicates the press release. The IOC’s proposal to reinstate Russians and Belarusians is far from unanimous.
In a joint letter, the result of a conference organized on February 11 between sports ministers from some thirty countries including France, Great Britain, Sweden, Poland, the United States and Canada, a coalition of country asked the IOC for “clarifications” on the neutrality required for Russian and Belarusian athletes conditioning their participation in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
The African Olympic committees have thus aligned themselves with the position of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and joined the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), which had proposed at the end of January to integrate Russian and Belarusian athletes into its own regional competitions, like the Asian Games.
The IOC had sketched out a roadmap at the end of January to reintegrate Russians and Belarusians, excluded from world sport since the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, under a neutral flag, on condition that they “did not actively support the war in Ukraine “. The IOC executive said: “No athlete should be barred from competition solely on the basis of their passport. »
Ukraine, for its part, is totally opposed to the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the Olympics. She threatened to boycott the competition if they participated, even under a neutral banner.
History repeats itself as in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics seven years ago, the first Olympic team of refugee athletes had 10 athletes from four countries, today it is the chance of Russians and Belarusians. It was set up by the IOC in partnership with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, to highlight the plight of refugees and send a message of hope to refugees and the world.