French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday that no Russian flag would be allowed in the 2024 Paris Olympics.
“There obviously cannot be a Russian flag at the Paris Games,” Macron said in an interview with French sports newspaper L’Équipe. “I think there’s a consensus (on this).”
Macron added that the Russian flag had “no place” at the 2024 Olympics, at a time when Russia is “committing war crimes by deporting children”.
Asked if Russian athletes would be allowed to participate, Macron replied that it was not a decision that belonged to the host country, but rather to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The commission will have to decide what place to give to Russian athletes “who have sometimes prepared all their lives and who can also be the victims” of the Kremlin regime, he explained.
Since the start of Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in international sporting events has sparked heated debate.
Earlier this year, the IOC recommended that Russian and Belarusian athletes compete as neutrals – without a flag or national anthem – in international competitions, despite the Ukrainian government’s campaign to ban them and threaten to boycott the events.
In July, Ukraine agreed to let its athletes compete against Russians and Belarusians, on the condition that athletes from both countries compete under a neutral banner.
In February, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said she did not want Russian athletes to compete in the 2024 Olympics, going against IOC recommendations.