The IOC accuses Russia of politicizing sports and condemns the organization of the Games of Friendship, a competing competition to the Olympics

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) accused Russia on Tuesday, March 19 of “politicizing sports” by launching its “Friendship Games” from September 2024, a new competition that competes with the Olympic Games, which also plans to have a winter edition.

The IOC, which has allowed Russian athletes to participate in the Paris 2024 Olympics only under a neutral banner and on the condition that they did not support Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has called on the world of sports and governments invited by Moscow to “reject any participation and support” for this event.

The first edition of the summer Friendship Games is expected to take place in Moscow and Yekaterinburg in September 2024, with the winter edition planned for 2026 in Sochi, the host city of the 2014 Olympics.

These two initiatives come in addition to the Games of the Future, held in Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan, from February 21 to March 3, combining traditional disciplines and e-sports, as well as the BRICS Games scheduled in the same city from June 12 to June 23, which are expected to include athletes from over 50 countries, according to Russian authorities.

The IOC does not criticize Russia for creating multisport competitions outside of its umbrella – as there are already several, including the Commonwealth Games and the Francophonie Games – but for doing so with “a very sustained diplomatic offensive” by directly contacting “governments around the world.”

“This position is reinforced by the fact that the Russian Anti-Doping Agency is currently not compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code, there is currently no WADA-accredited laboratory in Russia, and overall trust in the Russian anti-doping system remains low,” the organization adds.

Source: Le Monde with AFP

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