President Vladimir Putin’s official spokesman Dmitry Peskov revealed that Moscow is preparing a response to the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) return to competition recommendation.

Specifically, the Kremlin will respond to the IOC. The requirements for return to competition have been heavily lambasted as discriminatory and excessive by the Russian Olympic Committee’s (ROC) Athletes’ Commission.

Moscow is apparently preparing its position after the IOC recommended that its athletes would only be considered for readmission to international sport if they adhere to strict conditions of neutrality. The main sticking point is Russian athletes or officials publically supporting the invasion into Ukraine.

“As for the recommendations of the IOC, they are now being analysed, our approaches and our position are being developed,” said Peskov by Russia’s state news agency TASS.

Meanwhile, the ROC Athletes’ Commission published a statement, denouncing the IOC’s recommendations.

The commission wants Russian and Belarusian athletes to sign a document of neutrality before being reinstated.

“We regard the criteria put forward for admission to competitions as excessive, unreasonable and discriminatory: by nationality and passport, by discipline and sport, as well as by belonging to one or another structure that has been developing sports for decades in many post-Soviet states,” the statement from the ROC Commission reads.

“A similar system of support for athletes has long been widely used in many countries, but in this case, the reason for non-admission is only in relation to citizens of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus.

“Depriving athletes of national self-identification, the opportunity to compete in team and group disciplines, as well as sanctions for having an agreement with a sports society that gives labour guarantees according to the laws of their country, are gross violations of the principle of equality, which is fundamental not only in Olympism but also in a humanitarian, universal sense, in international law.”

“Such recommendations were characterized as containing elements of discrimination, which is unacceptable,” Peskov told reporters during a conference call. “We will continue to defend the interests of our athletes in every possible way.”

Several of Ukraine’s allies have supported change, however, some sport organizations are absolutely against reinstatement. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Wednesday that he would work to build a coalition to seek the withdrawal of what he called a “bad and wrong decision.” Warsaw had a day earlier described the IOC’s recommendations as shameful.

Various NSOs protest

All Ukrainian Olympic sports federations signed a document Thursday, March 9 addressing the IOC. The request is for the IOC to uphold its ban of Russia and Belarus from the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

In February 2022, European Athletics President, Dobromir Karamarinov, sent a letter of support (see here) to Ukrainian Athletic Federation Acting President, Yevhen Pronin, in support.

Poland, Sweden, and the Czech Republic refused to play World Cup qualifiers in Russia. The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) said national teams competing in UEFA competitions would be played at neutral venues.

Denouncing the incursion

President Sebastian Coe and World Athletics released a statement in February 2022 denouncing the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

“World Athletics is appalled by developments in Ukraine and condemns the Russian military invasion,” World Athletics wrote in a statement.

Coe offered World Athletics senior vice-president Sergey Bubka, who is Ukrainian, and the Ukrainian Athletics Federation “whatever practical support we can give.”

The Russian Athletics Federation has been suspended since 2015 for systematic doping, corruption, data manipulation, and various other charges.

According to the publication, Inside the Games, the President of the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine and Minister of Youth and Sports in Ukraine Vadym Guttsait wrote, “I call on you once again to support Ukraine’s position on the non-participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in international competitions, including the Olympic Games Paris 2024, in any status, as soon as this military aggression continues.”

Russian athletes competed during the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021. There was a delegation of nearly 350 who attended the event. However, the Russian flag and national anthem were never seen or heard. Russian athletes won dozens of medals.

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.”