7 Dec 2017 19:19

State Duma working on statement on IOC Executive Board's Russia decision

MOSCOW. Dec 7 (Interfax) - The proposal made by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to athletes from Russia on competing under a neutral flag is discrimination based on nationality, the State Duma said in its draft statement on the IOC Executive Board's decision.

"The statement by the State Duma emphasizes the unacceptability of political pressure on international sports institutions. Special attention is given to athletes' general civil rights. Our guys have a citizenship, a national flag, and patriotic pride. Therefore, we believe that the IOC's proposal to compete under a neutral flag is discrimination against our athletes based on nationality," Mikhail Degtyaryov, chairman of the State Duma committee on physical culture, sports, tourism and young people's affairs, told reporters on Thursday, commenting on the draft document.

Under such conditions, Russian Olympians "will be put in an unequal situation as the flag and the anthem are moral support for any athlete," he said.

"We are also calling on everyone outside and inside Russia to stop harassing our athletes and putting labels on Russian sport. We have done colossal work on the legislative level in the past 1.5 years, which is also mentioned in the statement," Degtyaryov said.

The committee head also said that "the draft statement by the State Duma is aimed at evaluating the event that has occurred."

"It was born out of a very serious negotiation process because it was quite difficult to get all four factions to agree," the parliamentarian said.

Degtyaryov said he will present the text of the statement at the plenary session on December 8. "Igor Lebedev, deputy speaker of the State Duma from the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia faction, the man who initiated work on the statement, Alexander Zhukov, president of the Russian Olympic Committee and first deputy speaker of the State Duma, and representatives of all factions will also speak in that session, he said.