French president Emmanuel Macron insisted Wednesday that “the Russian flag cannot be at the Paris Olympic Games… at a time when Russia is committing war crimes”.
Quizzed on the doable presence of Russian athletes in Paris competing as neutrals, Macron added: “I hope that this is a decision of conscience in the Olympic world. It is not the host state which must decide what the International Olympic Committee (IOC) should do.”
He added to sports activities every day L’Equipe: “I have total confidence in Thomas Bach (the IOC president)”.
Athletes from Russia and Belarus have confronted sanctions from a large number of sports activities since Russia invaded Ukraine in February of 2022.
Regardless of the continuing conflict, the IOC has advisable permitting athletes from Russia and Moscow ally Belarus to compete as particular person neutrals in worldwide competitions.
These allowed to reintegrate into world sport should fulfill sure circumstances.
These embody competing underneath a impartial flag and proving that they haven’t actively supported the conflict in Ukraine.
“Obviously, there cannot be the Russian flag at the Paris Games, I think there is consensus,” Macron added in his interview with L’Equipe.
“There is no place for Russia as a country at a time when it has committed war crimes, when it has deported children.”
“The real question that the Olympic world will have to decide is what place to give to these Russian athletes who sometimes have prepared for a lifetime, and can also be the victims of this regime.”
Nevertheless, Macron contemplated differentiate between these Russian athletes who’re accomplices and people who are victims of the regime.
“This is the real question,” he added.
The IOC should, he mentioned, decide that’s honest and understood by Ukrainians.
“This is the balancing act that we will have to carry out.”