The International Olympic Committee has criticized the Ukrainian government’s call for a boycott. Athletes in Ukraine have been officially instructed to boycott competitions involving athletes from Russia or Belarus.

The IOC took note of this decision. “If implemented, such a decision would only hurt Ukrainian athletes and would in no way affect the war that the world wants to end and that the IOC has so vehemently condemned,” the IOC said.

The IOC has always emphasized “that it is not up to governments to decide which athletes can participate in which international competitions”. If implemented, the order “would also go against the position of some Ukrainian athletes and other members of the Ukrainian Olympic community,” the IOC said.

The IOC also argued that there were 70 armed conflicts, wars or crises worldwide and that the National Olympic Committees affected by them adhere to the principles of the Olympic Charter and would not call for boycotts.

Decision for all competitions

The decision was taken at the suggestion of the Minister of Youth and Sports and the President of the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine, Vadym Hutzait. The decision applies to all competitions, including the qualifying competitions for the 2024 Olympic Games. Should athletes nevertheless take part in competitions in which athletes from Belarus or Russia also compete, this could result in the respective federations being stripped of their national status.

In doing so, the Ukrainian government was responding to recommendations by the IOC to allow athletes from Russia and Belarus to compete again as neutral participants.