The Russian president Vladimir Putin has accused the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of “ethnic discrimination” against athletes from his country, who will only be allowed to participate in a limited number in the Paris 2024 Games and under bandera neutral due to the invasion of Ukraine.
“Thanks to some leaders of the current International Olympic Committee, we have learned that the Games can be used as a instrument of political pressure against people who have nothing to do with politics, and as a crude (instrument) of racist discrimination,” Putin said during a speech on sports in Perm, in the Ural region.
According to the Russian president, for the IOC “an invitation to the Games is not an unconditional right of the best athletes, but a kind of privilege.”
The debate about the participation or not of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the Paris Games has shaken the sports world in recent months.
Russian athletes were suspended from any competition international after the start of the invasion of Ukraine, in February 2022.