Far from coming closer to an agreement after the last recommendation of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the conflict over the presence of Russian and Belarusian athletes in international competitions is increasing and from Germany they recognized that they are even evaluating the possibility of not letting athletes in.
Nancy Faeser, German Interior Minister, said that “countries where major sporting events are held do not lack power” and explained that “they can control, through the issuance of visas, whether they can participate in them.”
Faeser’s statement comes days after the International Olympic Committee recommended the readmission of Russians and Belarusians to international competitions as long as they have not supported the invasion of Ukraine.
“When we organize international competitions in Germany, we can act accordingly and we will always do so with a clear stance,” said the minister and again differentiated herself from what was previously stated by the IOC, which believes that no country should discriminate against athletes because of their passport.
Germany clearly marked its position against the Russians and Belarusians by canceling the Women’s Foil World Cup that was to be held in Tauberbischofsheim. The decision was taken after the International Fencing Federation decided to allow shooters from these two countries to participate, starting in mid-April.
In addition, more than 300 shooters signed a letter addressed to Emmanuel Katsiadakis, interim president of the FIE, and Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), in which they stated that the decision approved by the Extraordinary Congress was given “with total disregard for the voices of the athletes”.
Athletes from Russia and Belarus can participate in some sports under the condition of neutral, such as tennis, while Federations such as athletics and swimming keep them out of the competitions they organize.
“It is totally unacceptable for Ukrainian athletes to face athletes competing for a country that kills so many civilians in Ukraine,” said Minister Faeser and stressed: “Offering a propaganda scenario to the warmonger (Vladimir) Putin would betray all the values of sports.”
The concrete thing is that the conflict is progressing and the tone of the statements is getting stronger. Poland’s Iga Swiatek, number one in the world, acknowledged that in an interview with the BBC that “in the dressing room the atmosphere is quite tense” and pointed out to the authorities: “Tennis, from the beginning, could have done a little better when it came to showing everyone that tennis players are against the war”.
For his part, the president of the Russian Swimming Federation, Vladimir Salnikov, spoke of “perversion” in an interview with the state agency TASS and stated: “Political decisions are in the foreground, now blackmail is taking place by the leaders of countries and governments.”