— Published 16 November 2023

Moscow responds to the IOC

A first step towards appeasement? The organizers of the 2024 World Friendship Games in Moscow, who have been singled out by the IOC and its President, Thomas Bach, were quick to respond. In a press release sent to the TASS agency on Wednesday November 15, they asserted that they had never sought conflict with the IOC or proposed a multisport event contrary to the Olympic movement. “We are surprised by the harsh stance taken by the IOC and some of its leaders towards the Friendship World Games organized in Russia, explains the statement. Our aim has never been to confront the IOC or to organize competitions that run counter to the Olympic movement. The Friendship World Games were conceived as a harmonious addition to the international sporting calendar. For Russian athletes, excluded from major international competitions, they will represent the most important sporting event of recent years.” Earlier in the week, Thomas Bach took advantage of his opening speech at the Forum of International Federations in Lausanne to call on the Olympic movement to boycott sporting events organized by Russia. Without naming them, the German leader referred in particular to the BRICS Games and the World Friendship Games. The former are due to be held in Kazan next June, ahead of the Paris 2024 Games. They should bring together the organization’s member countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), plus some non-aligned nations. The World Friendship Games are scheduled for September 2024 in Moscow. The two multi-sport events were created on Vladimir Putin’s initiative, following a Council of Ministers meeting last May, where the Russian president asked the government to work on competitions that would enable Russian athletes to compete internationally.