— Published 30 January 2023

The Olympic movement is behind the IOC


The IOC can count on its troops in the stormy debate on a possible return of Russian and Belarusian athletes in international competitions. At the head of the procession, ANOC (Association of National Olympic Committees). The body chaired by the Fijian Robin Mitchell published a press release, during the last weekend, where it expresses without reserve its support to the position of the IOC Executive Board on the solidarity with Ukraine, the sanctions against Russia and Belarus, and the status of athletes from both countries. It explains that it “shares the firm belief that athletes should not be prevented from competing on the basis of the passport they hold and that a pathway should be explored to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to return to competition under strict conditions.” ANOCA continues: “We recognize that this is a sensitive issue and that this pathway and the strict conditions under which eligible athletes would be able to compete must be considered very carefully. We trust the IOC to carry out this process in consultation with the International Federations and the family of National Olympic Committees.” Not surprisingly, the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) is also siding with the IOC on the Russia issue. Meeting in mid-January, its executive committee adopted a resolution whose terms open wide the door to a return of athletes from both countries in view of the Paris 2024 Games. “ANOCA recommends that all athletes participate in the Olympic Games, competitions and international events in compliance with the Olympic Charter, it explains in a statement. The participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in any competition must be free of any political signs/indications (flag or otherwise). ANOCA has full confidence in IOC President Dr. Thomas Bach, the Executive Board and the IOC Session to adopt adequate measures for the protection and safeguarding of the athletes’ interests as well as the preservation of the autonomy of the Olympic movement. In conclusion, ANOCA expresses its full support to the proposals of the Olympic Summit.”