Poland should boycott Olympics if Russians, Belarussians take part


Poland should boycott the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics if Russian and Belarusian athletes participate, a deputy foreign minister has said.

Pawel Jablonski told the RMF FM radio broadcaster on Friday that he would call on the Polish Olympic Committee to take such a decision.

Last week, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said that it had been looking at options to include Russian and Belarusian athletes as neutral contestants at the Paris 2024 Olympics, which would mean competing under the Olympic flag.

Kamil Bortniczuk, Polish sports minister, told PAP later in the day that a meeting of his counterparts from European and non-European countries would be held on February 10.

"...Around forty sports ministers from Europe and other parts of the world will issue a joint firm statement opposing the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the Paris Olympics," Bortniczuk said.

"It will surely be a sharp position which will oppose the participation of Russians and Belarusians in the 2024 Olympics," the minister said.

Referring to an announcement of Ukraine and Latvia about the possible boycott of the forthcoming Olympics, Bortniczuk said that "this always is the strongest trump curd and a final solution."

"But I believe that these countries will not hesitate to use it," he concluded.

"If I am to evaluate moral qualifications of sports officials, I could say that, in many cases, they would not be the highest," Jablonski said.

Having admitted that there was a possibility of money involved in the case, Jablonski said that, if such was the situation, it would be highly blameworthy.

"But even if there was no money involved, such a decision (by IOC - PAP) would be not only a crime but also a mistake," Jablonski said.

Having pointed out that European sports unions decided to put a ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes, Jablonski said that this had happened "to a great extent" thanks to pressure from Poland.

"Putin, just like Lukashenko, uses sports to build support so the ban on the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in global competitions counteracts Russian propaganda," the deputy minister said.

Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia condemned on Thursday IOC efforts aimed at bringing Russian and Belarusian athletes back into competition.