IOC vs. Putin supporters: Bach threatens war sympathizers with penalties

Athletes and officials who support Russia's invasion of Ukraine face fines from the IOC.

IOC vs. Putin supporters: Bach threatens war sympathizers with penalties

Athletes and officials who support Russia's invasion of Ukraine face fines from the IOC. President Thomas Bach says he is keeping an eye on "who is supporting the war through actions or statements". Bach rejects accusations that he was too close to Putin in the run-up to the war.

Sports supporters of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine face sanctions from the International Olympic Committee for public expressions of sympathy for the Russian invasion. President Thomas Bach made this clear at the 139th IOC session.

"We follow very closely who supports the war with actions or statements and will take the necessary consequences, as for example the international swimming federation FINA and the international gymnastics federation FIG have already done," said Bach. With his determination, Bach also contradicted the criticism of the previous waiver of personal sanctions against Russian IOC members: "Individuals cannot be punished solely on the basis of their passport," he said.

Russia's swimming Olympic champion Yevgeny Rylov was banned for nine months for participating in a mass event in Moscow with warlord Vladimir Putin in support of the invasion of Ukraine. Russian top gymnast Ivan Kulyak has been banned for at least a year because the athlete showed sympathy with the Russian military in Ukraine at a competition with a symbol.

In contrast to these measures, Russians Yelena Isinbayeva and Shamil Tarpishchev remain members of the IOC, despite international calls for their suspension. However, the IOC position is: Both are not representatives of their country. Bach sees this as justified by the positions in politics: "Our approach is in line with that of governments, which are also bound by the law when they impose sanctions. Sanctions can only be imposed on those who are responsible for something ."

Bach also indirectly rejected recurring allegations that he was too close to Russia and Putin in the run-up to the war. "Unfortunately, relations with Russia's political leadership have deteriorated dramatically in recent years. They have deteriorated due to the doping scandal, cyber attacks and even personal threats from members of the IOC and the Olympic Movement," Bach said.

He sees a need for the IOC in the future, especially after the end of the war. "The world will then have to build bridges again, and then we will have to unite the entire world in peaceful competition in the Olympic movement," said Bach.


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