— Published 13 March 2023

Britain appeals to global partners

Unexpected. In the debate that has become global on a possible return of Russian and Belarusian athletes to the Paris 2024 Games, the British government appeals to the IOC partners. The British Minister for Culture, Lucy Frazer, has written a letter sent to the thirteen member companies of the TOP global marketing program. She asks them to take a stand. “We know that sport and politics in Russia and Belarus are closely linked and we are determined that the Russian and Belarusian regimes should not be allowed to use sport for propaganda purposes, she wrote. As an Olympic partner, I would like to hear your views on this issue and ask you to join us in lobbying the IOC to address the concerns raised.” This is not the first time Britain has made an official move to try to prevent the reinstatement of the two countries on the international sporting stage. Last February, its government initiated an online meeting of sports ministers from more than 30 nations to adopt a common position on the issue. It was followed by a joint letter, signed by France, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Poland, the United States and Canada, where the coalition asked the IOC for “clarifications” on the notion of neutrality envisaged for the athletes of both countries at the Paris 2024 Games. As a reminder, several NGOs had already solicited the IOC’s global partners before the Beijing 2022 Winter Games, to ask them to take a position on the issue of human rights in China. But their approach had no concrete result.