Russian and Belarusian Olympic ban needs discussions says foreign min


The Polish foreign minister has said that a ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes from next year's Olympics should be discussed as there can be no return to “business as usual.”

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.

But on Thursday, the sports ministers of Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia condemned the IOC's efforts.

On Friday, Zbigniew Rau, the Polish foreign minister, was asked at a press conference in Stockholm whether, if no agreement is reached with the IOC, Poland would consider boycotting the Olympic Games in Paris.

He replied that the boycott threat stems from the fact that after the Russian attack on Ukraine, relations with both Russia and Belarus, which supports Moscow, cannot be the same as before.

"It cannot be as we say 'business as usual'," Rau said.

He added that the issue cannot be resolved for now and needs intensive discussion involving all interested parties, especially the sports community.