— Published 9 December 2021

Financial support for Afghan athletes and leaders

The subject has left the headlines, but the IOC is not letting up on the Afghan issue. On Wednesday 8 December, the IOC Executive Board approved financial aid of $560,000 for athletes in the country. It should benefit 2,000 beneficiaries, with top athletes and national team coaches at the top of the list, as well as sports federation officials still living in Afghanistan. The IOC specifies that this aid will be allocated in priority to women. It will amount to US$265 per beneficiary and will be extended to the Afghan Paralympic community and non-Olympic national federations. Last November, the IOC had already worked with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to obtain humanitarian visas for members of the sporting community in Afghanistan. The two bodies were able to help 300 Afghans leave the country. “This shows that quiet diplomacy works, and what an effect it can have,” suggested Thomas Bach on Wednesday 8 December, at the end of the second day of the Executive Board meeting. The IOC president used the same formula last week to defend the Olympic body’s attitude in the Peng Shuai case.