31 Jan 2018 18:20

Putin warns against further politicization of global sports

NOVO-OGARYOVO. Jan 31 (Interfax) - Russia hopes that international sports organizations will not turn into government departments in certain countries however powerful these might seem sometimes, President Vladimir Putin said.

"Of course, we very much feel for our athletes who could not go to the Olympic Games. We will do everything to support them," Putin said at a meeting with members of the Russian Olympic team.

"At the same time, recognizing our own omissions, errors and inattentive attitude to things that are important and key in contemporary sports, we are very hopeful that our colleagues in international sports organizations also will do everything for their organizations and associations not to turn into government departments of certain states, however powerful and important these states might appear at first glance," Putin said.

It is this attitude to sports that Moscow is expecting, Putin said. "We are hoping for their courage. We understand that contemporary sport is to do with sponsorship, with advertising and with everything that accompanies major international events, but if contemporary international sport, the Olympic movement, lose the most important element of sport that unites nations and countries, then all this will no longer matter," Putin said.

In that case, the call by the founder of the modern Olympic movement, Pierre de Coubertin, will have lost its meaning, he said. "We will do everything for that not to happen, we will also work with international organizations and support our athletes who were unable to go to the Olympics," Putin said.