Russia and Belarus risk Paris Olympics ban, senior IOC member warns | Paris 2024 Olympic Games

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Russia faces a ban from the Paris Olympics following the invasion of Ukraine, Sir Craig Reedie has warned.

Reedie, an influential figure in the International Olympic Committee for nearly 30 years, believes there is little chance that Russia and Belarus will soon be allowed back into international sport

Reedie says most Russian and Belarusian athletes and teams now face a second problem: not being able to compete in the events where qualification spots are on offer for the 2024 Games.

Reedie, who headed the World Anti-Doping Agency when it investigated Russian doping, said the question of Russia’s participation in Paris was now the “$64,000 question”.

He added: “I am afraid that a decision has to be made on what will happen to each of these two countries. And I guess the general feeling would be that they shouldn’t qualify.

“I think most people wonder how we could achieve some degree of representation. At the moment, there is no clear way to do this. Therefore, you maintain the status quo.

This was set by the IOC in February when it recommended that Russian and Belarusian athletes be barred from participating in international events “in order to protect the integrity of global sports competitions and for the safety of all participants”.

Craig Reedie says Russia is facing a ban from the Olympics. Photography: Laurent Gilliéron/EPA

Reedie said more than four months later, that view was still widely held. The few exceptions were cycling, judo and tennis, which allowed Russians to compete internationally as individuals, although Wimbledon instituted a ban.

“However, the problem now comes that around two years before the Games, the qualification period starts as set by the international federations and the IOC,” he said. “There is therefore a real problem for the federations, which have a clear instruction on which they have agreed not to invite Russians and Belarusians to participate in the events.

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    “Therefore, on the face of it, it’s unlikely anyone will qualify other than in these three sports that don’t work that way. And will they be able to qualify? [from those three sports]? I am not sure.”

    Reedie, whose autobiography, Delivering London’s Olympic Dream: A Long Life in Sport – Highlights and Crises, was published last week, said it would be difficult for the Russians to enter qualifying competitions after they start. “It’s quite difficult halfway through to say ‘all of you who have now qualified, we have changed the rules’.”


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