Paris mayor will discuss Russia’s participation at 2024 Games at appropriate time

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine goes against the Olympic spirit and the time will come to decide on his country’s participation in the Paris 2024 Games, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo said on Wednesday.

Hidalgo, who will still be mayor when the 2024 Games are held, unless she is a surprise winner in next month’s presidential election, said Russian President Vladimir Putin was waging an unjust war.

“For me the Olympic Games are also a part of this world of geopolitics,” Hidalgo said. “What is happening today does not effectively put Russia in this grouping of peaceful countries.”

Russia calls its action a “special operation” to disarm and denazify Ukraine.

In late February, the International Olympic Committee’s executive board recommended that sports federations ban Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from competing in events following Russia’s invasion. The Russian Olympic Committee categorically disagreed with the IOC.

As things stand, the Russian Olympic Committee is not suspended and Russia is cleared to compete in Paris.

Sports has a role to play in global diplomacy, said Hidalgo, who was in Japan in August to receive the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the Tokyo Summer Games, which were postponed for a year due to COVID-19.

She declined to say more on when the appropriate time would be for Olympic organizers to make a decision on Russia.

“I am very pragmatic and we will make a decision when the moment comes. That’s it,” Hidalgo said, adding that Putin was waging a war against a country that has the right to self-determination.

“Vladimir Putin is breaching international law, he does not recognize the existence of international law. We will have to take that into account.”

Any decision on Russia’s participation would lie with the IOC.

In 1920, Austria, Bulgaria, Turkey, Hungary and Germany, defeated in World War One, were not invited to take part in the Antwerp Olympics. In 1948, after the end of World War Two, Germany and Japan were suspended from the London Games.

Russian athletes competed under the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) banner at this year’s Beijing Winter Olympics because of doping.

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