War of words between Poland and head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) over Russia being allowed to compete in Paris

FILE - International Olympic Committee, IOC, President Thomas Bach attends the opening of the Executive Board meeting at the Olympic House in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Dec. 5, 2022. (Denis Balibouse/Pool Photo via AP, File)
By John Cody
2 Min Read

The spokesman for the Polish government has slammed Thomas Bach, the head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), for his remarks critical of Poland’s stance opposing the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the Paris Olympics 2024

Bach has hit back at the Polish government for criticizing the IOC decision to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete internationally. He called the criticism “blatantly unfair and a violation of the autonomy of sport governing bodies.” Bach also said that it was wrong to question the will of the majority in the Olympic movement. 

He continued his remarks by criticizing Poland for applying double standards: “It is a shame that these governments do not raise the issue of double standards. We don’t recall a single comment being made in terms of their attitude towards the participation of athletes from countries engaged in 70 different wars and armed conflicts all over the globe,” he argued.

The Polish government spokesman Piotr Muller slammed Thomas Bach’s remarks. He called it outrageous. “Sport is about values. Russian barbarism is a contradiction of basic human rights and international law.”

He also pointed to the fact that the decision of the IOC was grist to the mill of Russian propaganda. “Russian propaganda has very quickly taken advantage of the IOC decision to justify its own actions,” concluded the Polish government spokesman

The IOC on Tuesday agreed to guidelines for international sports governing bodies with regard to enabling Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in international events. The guidelines have set certain conditions for access to be granted to individuals as long as they compete only under a neutral flag, have no association with the Russian army, and do not voice support for the war in Ukraine.

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