25 Apr 2023 21:53

PACE, IOC discuss permitting Russians, Belarusians to int'l competitions

MOSCOW. April 25 (Interfax) - The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has held hearings on the participation of athletes with Russian or Belarusian passports in international competitions, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) press service said on Tuesday.

"Alexandra Xanthaki, Special Rapporteur of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council in the field of Cultural Rights, repeated her concerns which she had already expressed in a letter to the IOC in September 2022," the IOC press service said in a statement.

Xanthaki earlier condemned the banning of Russian athletes from international competitions, describing it as discrimination on the grounds of nationality.

She also noted positive dynamics in the resolution of the situation with Russians and Belarusians' participation in international tournaments, recalling the IOC recommendations of March 28, 2023, which state that any athlete from Russia or Belarus may be allowed to compete in international tournaments provided they do not actively support Russia's special military operation in Ukraine. Any athlete having contract obligations to armed forces, for instance, CSKA or Dynamo sports clubs, will also be barred from competing.

"I am of the view that such a recommendation is a step in the good direction," Xanthaki said.

Earlier, in March 2022, the IOC recommended that international sports federations ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from international tournaments due to the situation in Ukraine. Most federations followed the IOC recommendations.