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Volodymyr Zelensky calls for the exclusion of Russian athletes, a boycott that is debated

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday asked Emmanuel Macron to ban the participation of Russian athletes in the 2024 Olympics in Paris. A demand for exclusion that makes politicians wince, on the right and on the left.

Will the Russians be able to present themselves at the Olympic Games in Paris? Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s request to Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday to exclude athletes from Russia sparked a wave of reactions in France. On the right as on the left, one wonders about the relevance of this ostracism.

“I am never in favor of taking international sporting events, which are moments by definition of peace and encounters, hostage. Let’s preserve the Olympics”, reacted on franceinfo the boss of the deputies Les Républicains (LR), Olivier Marleix.

“It is the IOC who decides”

“I do not share this approach [de Volodymyr Zelensky]. If we start selecting athletes in view of wars and attacks and non-respect of human rights, we will alienate the world and that makes no sense”, objected on France 2 the president LR of the Association of Mayors of France, David Lisnard: “This type of approach which aims to penalize athletes, I think it has no effect. On the contrary, it only has counter-effects.”

“First of all, I hope that in 2024, we will not be in the same situation, and moreover, I am not in favor of a boycott, nor am I in favor of a boycott of Russian artists either” , commented for his part on franceinfo the spokesperson for the Communist Party, Ian Brossat, deputy mayor of Paris in charge of housing.

“Imagine if, for example, we had boycotted Iran at the time of the Football World Cup, we would not have had the expression of its Iranian athletes, so I think that is not necessarily the right solution”, he argued, recalling the refusal of Iranian players to sing their national anthem before their first match of the 2022 World Cup against England.

“It is the IOC which decides on the delegations in the Olympic Games”, recalled for his part Tony Estanguet, the president of the Organizing Committee, during the wishes of Paris-2024 to the press, recalling the neutrality of his team.

>> To read also: “Football has no meaning when children are killed in Iran”: report from Iranian supporters

After the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) sanctioned Moscow and Minsk. No international sporting event is organized or supported in Russia or Belarus and no national symbols of these countries are displayed during a sporting event.

In a message for the New Year, the IOC President, Thomas Bach, had indicated at the end of 2022 that he wanted to see these sporting sanctions extended in 2023.

“These sanctions against Russian and Belarusian states and governments must and will remain firmly in place,” he said. “We want to see a strong team from (…) Ukraine at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games and at the Milan Cortina 2026 Winter Olympics,” Thomas Bach said, recalling “the IOC’s total commitment and of the entire Olympic movement in favor of this solidarity”.

France 24-Trans

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