The United States along with more than 30 other countries including Canada and most of Europe are backing a proposed ban of Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing in international sports, according to a joint statement published by the British government Monday.
The countries asked the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to reverse its decision last month to create a pathway for Russian and Belarussian athletes to participate in the upcoming Games as “neutral athletes."
“The situation in Ukraine has continued to deteriorate since the IOC barred Russian and Belarusian athletes last year – following their nations’ violation of the Olympic truce – and there is no reason for the IOC to reverse that decision,” according to the UK government summary of the statement.
“There are serious concerns about how feasible it is for Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete on a neutral basis given they are directly funded and supported by their states. As long as a workable ‘neutrality’ model is not set out in detail, Russian and Belarusian athletes should not be allowed back into competition," it added.
The statement went on to say that “there are clear concerns over the strong links and affiliations between Russian athletes and the Russian military," demanding that the IOC must address the questions identified by all countries and reconsider its proposal.
The statement is signed by sport and culture ministers of the US, Canada, UK, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
Here's what the US previously said: Earlier this month, the White House said it did not object to allowing athletes from Russia or Belarus from taking part in the 2024 Summer Games and 2026 Winter Games — as long as it is "absolutely clear" that they are not representing their home countries, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.
"In cases where sports organizations and event organizers, such as the International Olympic Committee, choose to permit athletes from Russia and Belarus to participate in supporting events, it should be absolutely clear that they are not representing the Russian or Belarusian states," Jean-Pierre said, adding that the use of any official Russian or Belarusian flags, emblems or anthems should be prohibited.