The blowback from international sport and civic leaders continue to pile up against International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach’s idea of reintegrating Russia into the Olympic Games. Has Bach lost the plot?

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo

It was reported here earlier this week that the Paris mayor is against having a Russian delegation in her city during the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, while Russia wages its illegal war in Ukraine.

Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, France said that she does not want a Russian delegation at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games while the country wages war in Ukraine.

“As long as Russia continues to wage war on Ukraine, I don’t want there to be a Russian delegation at the Paris 2024 Games.

“I would find that indecent.

“It is not possible to parade as if nothing had happened, to have a delegation come to Paris, while the bombs continue to rain down on Ukraine,” she said.

German Canoeing Association

As reported by the publication, Inside the Games, the German Canoe Association (DKV) has called upon the International Olympic Committee (IOC) “to clarify fundamental questions in sport” as it vowed to continue its exclusion of Russian and Belarusian canoeists from international events in Germany.

“We are aware that a reintegration of Russian and Belarusian athletes into the world of sports, as suggested by the IOC, would be extremely difficult,” DKV President Jens Perlwitz said.

“In our opinion, the current trend emanating from the IOC is not in line with the Olympic movement.

“You have to think hard about whether a state that is waging aggressive war is allowed to be part of the Olympic family, whether that state is allowed to host the Olympic Games and whether athletes from that state are allowed to participate in the Games.”

Other European protests

Meanwhile, the Minister of Youth and Sports of Ukraine, Vadym Guttsait, is considering a boycott of Paris if Russia and Belarus are to be present.

Other European leaders have stepped up to issue warnings about their participation. For example, Minister of Sports of Austria, Werner Kogler, agreed that he is not in favour of Russia and Belarus’s participation in any way. The Olympic committees from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden wrote to the IOC to indicate they also oppose Russian and Belarusian participation in Paris.

In addition to the war and the alleged corruption in boxing, Russia harbours a general culture of cheating. Their systematic doping came to a head at the Sochi Winter Games, however, there is evidence of a long tradition of drug cheating. The illegal war only adds to its status as persona non grata on the global sporting stage.

It was announced earlier this week that six more Russians have been approved for neutral status.

The latest threats of boycotts in international competition are gaining momentum; it’s perhaps the thin edge of the wedge between Russia and Belarus and the rest of the world. This will not end well if Russia is included in any global competitions for reasons related to systematic doping, the illegal war in Ukraine and alleged corruption and bribery specifically in boxing. That’s a lot.

Russian and Ukranian athletes brawl in hotel

Also according to Inside the Games, Russian and Ukrainian football teams brawled in a Turkish hotel due to the Russian players apparently behving rudely toward hotel staff.

Footage has emerged which seems to show a brawl between footballers from Ukraine and Russia at a hotel on the Turkish coast, where they were staying in the days after the earthquake.

Players from Shinnik Yaroslavl in Russia and Ukrainian team FC Minaj were both staying in the Royal Seginus hotel in Antalya for training camps.

“The cause of the fight was the disgraceful behaviour of the football players of the Russian team towards the hotel employees and provocative shouts towards the players of Minaj,” FC Minaj claimed in a statement.

“Those who tried to stop the fight were accused of supporting Ukraine.

“After the end of the skirmish fighting continued amongst the Russians themselves.” 

A brief video interview with Shinnik defender Artem Semeykin later appeared showing the player with a bandage on his face.

“I heard someone say ‘Glory to Ukraine! The response was “Glory to Russia”, that’s it, it went off,” Semeykin said in Russian.

The negative behavior may stem from the national football teams of both Russia and Belarus being banned from qualifying for the 2022 Men’s World Cup in Qatar and the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Football’s European governing body UEFA has excluded not only the national teams but also all Russian and Belarusian clubs from European competitions. The Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne rejected Russian appeals against the exclusion.