— Published 10 November 2023

Britons in favour of Russian athletes

The British are getting wet. And they’re the only ones. With the Paris 2024 Games less than 10 months away, British Olympic Committee (BOA) Chief Executive Andy Anson (pictured above) raised the issue of Russian athletes at the next Olympics in an interview on Sky Sports News. Surprisingly, he did not mince his words, explaining that a common position had been adopted by the body and its Athletes’ Commission. It favors the participation of athletes carrying a Russian or Belarusian passport, but under strict conditions of neutrality, with no links whatsoever with the army or support for the war in Ukraine. “The difference between Tokyo 2020 and the Paris Games will be clear, detailed Andy Anson on Sky Sports News. Any Russian or Belarussian athlete present will be clearly as an independent competitor. That’s the current policy and we’re happy with it. As long as they’re not teams representing Russia, as long as the neutral athletes aren’t affiliated with the military, we’re fine with that approach. Russians were banned from a large number of international events prior to the Paris 2024 Games, so few have or will be able to qualify. Even if some will be able to make it, there won’t be many more than a hundred, certainly not 400 like at the Tokyo Games. We’re in favor of independent athletes, we don’t want athletes to be permanently punished for the conflicts taking place in the world. But the balance is not easy. At the last European Games in Krakow, Russian athletes were not allowed. But at the same time, we saw Russian players at the Wimbledon tournament.