The 2024 Paris Olympics should not allow the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes, Prime Minister Petr Fiala said after the International Olympic Committee said it is keen to include them as neutral contestants.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) caused uproar after it announced that it is considering the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes as neutrals. While the US and the UN have widely backed the announcement, Poland, Ukraine, Baltic states and now Czechia, have sharply criticised the IOC’s announcements.
“I absolutely cannot imagine Russian and Belarusian athletes competing there,” Fiala said while acknowledging that the sports sector has its own autonomy.
The same sentiment was echoed by the Czech Olympic Committee, which said it favoured maintaining the current sanctions that would prevent these athletes from competing.
The Czech committee will not go as far as boycott the Games in case Russian and Belarusian athletes participate – a move Poland, Ukraine and Baltic states said they are considering.
“Of course, we will respect the will of each athlete if any of them decide not to participate in the Games. We will not order them to do anything and we will not make decisions for them,” the Czech committee wrote in an official statement published on Monday.
The issue is expected to be discussed on 10 February during an online meeting of European sports ministers hosted by the UK.