The Executive Committee of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved on Wednesday change of citizenship of three Russian athletes without the consent of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC). Sport correspondent talks about how this became possible and what consequences this precedent could lead to.
At an evening press conference following the first day of work of the IOC Executive Committee, the organization's director of communications, Mark Adams, read out a list of nine people who were allowed to change their sports citizenship on the eve of the Olympics in Paris. Among them he named three Russians. Cyclist Mikhail Yakovlev received permission to compete for Israel, wrestler Georgy Tibilov for Serbia, cyclist Valeria Lyubimova for France.
But much more interesting than this was a press release in which the IOC announced that these athletes were allowed to change their citizenship without serving the three-year “quarantine” required by the rules. As the document stated, the consent of the relevant national Olympic committees was obtained. And even lower, in small print, there was a key footnote, as it turned out: the Russian Olympic Committee is currently suspended.
Well, all that remained was to put two and two together to understand: no one asked for OCD in this situation. The IOC reasoned very simply: if the national Olympic committee of a particular country is suspended, then permission from this organization to change sports citizenship without serving “quarantine” for its athletes is not required. This was confirmed on Thursday by the organization’s president Stanislav Pozdnyakov, who called the decision of the IOC executive committee to approve the change of sports citizenship of three Russians “arbitrariness and lawlessness.”
“The IOC initially suspended the ROC, the legitimacy of which will be the subject of a separate trial. Yes, there is now no trust in the objectivity of CAS, but something else is indicative of all these steps – neither violations of most existing norms, nor the consequences of these violations, it seems, are currently not analyzed at all by the IOC,” Pozdnyakov noted.
< br>“Yesterday we witnessed another chapter of the farce – a discouraging abuse of power with the appropriation of the power to apply “special rules” and at our own discretion to resolve issues related to the direct and exclusive jurisdiction of the National Olympic Committee. In this case, the issue concerns the change of sports citizenship. Now – ROC “Who's next?” — asks the president of the Russian Olympic Committee.
It is difficult not to agree with the president of the ROC, who also states: if the Court of Arbitration for Sport recognizes the removal of the ROC as inconsistent with the Olympic Charter, then who will be responsible for the permission to change the flag, issued bypassing the Russian Olympic Committee? And what will happen then – will the athletes be returned back to Russia and forced to sit out the “quarantine”? Or will CAS have a separate process for this? The IOC press service, as expected, does not answer these questions in its comments.
CAS arbitrators, by the way, have probably already started speaking Russian in recent years – they have to consider so many processes related to our country. Only in recent years – the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) against the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), and the first series will be followed by the second. The doping case of Kamila Valieva. It is very likely that CAS will also have to deal with the issue of medal distribution for the Olympic team tournament. Appeal against the suspension of the OCD. And so on, and so on, and so on.
All these processes, in fact, are evidence of an unprecedented attack that is being made on Russian sports. And its last phase – issuing permits for the unhindered change of sports citizenship – is generally a blow to the gut. In a situation where many Russian athletes are truly lacking motivation in the absence of international tournaments, the IOC has decided to dangle Olympic carrots in front of their noses, calling on athletes to essentially sell themselves to other countries for the sake of an unhindered trip to the Games.
Well, from a moral point of view On the side of the line of behavior adopted by officials from Lausanne, everything is clear. As for the legal matter, the Court of Arbitration for Sport will decide; after all, it’s too early to say categorically that there is no hope for it. Well, regarding the carrots from the IOC, our athletes must give an answer – will they behave like the donkeys from that ancient parable. Especially if they remember how that parable ended.