Britain opposed to Russia, Belarus athletes being at Paris Olympics
A general view shows the Olympic Rings at the Olympic Stadium, main venue of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo on July 19, 2021.

LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP)— Moves to reintegrate Russian athletes for next year's Paris Olympics were strongly criticised by the British government on Thursday.

Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan described plans by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to provide a pathway for Russian and Belarusian athletes to complete under a neutral flag as "a world away from the reality of war being felt by the Ukrainian people."

Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the IOC advised international sports federations last February to exclude athletes from their competitions.

However, on Wednesday, the IOC said in a press release that "no athlete should be prevented from competing just because of their passport."

The British government has offered military and humanitarian support to Ukraine since the invasion began.

Donelan said they would now work with "like-minded countries" to oppose the reintegration of Russian athletes.

"I want to be clear that this position from the IOC is a world away from the reality of war being felt by the Ukrainian people - and IOC president (Thomas) Bach's own words less than a year ago where he strongly condemned Russia for breaking the Olympic Truce and urged it to 'give peace a chance'," Donelan said.

"We will strongly condemn any action taken that allows President Putin to legitimise his illegal war in Ukraine - a position the IOC previously shared.

"We, and many other countries, have been unequivocal on this throughout, and we will now work urgently across like-minded countries to ensure that solidarity continues on this issue."

The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, said on Thursday that she was in favour of Russian athletes competing at the 2024 Olympics as neutrals.

During a call on Tuesday, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said he had stressed to his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron that Russian athletes "should have no place" at the Paris Games.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at


  1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper; email addresses will not be published.
  2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.
  3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.
  4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.
  5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:
  6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:
  7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Which long-term investment option is more attractive to you at the moment?