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IOC members from Russia avoid suspension despite military links, says Bach

IOC members from Russia avoid suspension despite military links, says Bach

IOC members from Russia avoid suspension despite military links, says Bach

IOC members from Russia avoid suspension despite military links, says Bach

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  • ROC suspended for annexing Ukraine sports bodies.
  • Russian athletes can still compete as neutrals in Paris.
  • Russian IOC members spared punishment, but will be assessed.
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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has suspended the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) for breaching the Olympic Charter by listing sports bodies from annexed regions of Ukraine as its members.

However, this suspension will not affect the participation of Russian athletes with neutral status at the upcoming Paris Olympics.

IOC President Thomas Bach clarified that the suspension of the ROC was not a punitive measure against Russian athletes, as they were not responsible for the decisions made by officials or the government. Athletes holding Russian passports will still be allowed to compete as neutral representatives at the Paris Olympics, and those receiving IOC grants will not be affected.

While the ROC faces suspension, Russia’s two IOC members, Yelena Isinbayeva and Shamil Tarpischev, will not face any disciplinary action. President Bach explained that these IOC members, who are former Olympic champion pole vaulter Isinbayeva and Tarpischev, do not have any contractual links with the Russian military or security agencies and have not supported the invasion of Ukraine. In Bach’s words, “They are not Russia’s representative in IOC but IOC’s representatives in Russia.”

The IOC’s decision to suspend the ROC, while sparing its Russian members, was based on an internal ethics investigation that found no reason to take action against them. Nevertheless, these members will be assessed by the IOC’s ethics commission to ensure equal treatment between officials and athletes.

The suspension of the ROC was prompted by the inclusion of sports bodies from regions annexed from Ukraine as members of the committee. The IOC rejected the ROC’s contention that it took no action when Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, emphasizing that the IOC has never acknowledged Russia’s annexation of Crimea. This history did not influence the current decision to suspend the ROC.

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As of now, the IOC has also suspended Belarus for its support of the invasion of Ukraine. The status of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the Paris Olympics is yet to be determined, pending further decisions by the IOC.

The suspension of the ROC serves as a significant development in the ongoing international response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine, with the IOC taking a clear stance on upholding the principles of the Olympic Charter while sparing individual athletes from the consequences of political decisions made at the state level.

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