UK government’s letter to Visa, Deloitte and Allianz prompts rebuke from Olympic chiefs

Olympic chiefs have issued a rebuke to the UK authorities over its lobbying of sponsors together with Visa, Deloitte and Allianz for Russia to stay banned from sport.

The UK has been among the many most vocal and energetic opponents of the Worldwide Olympic Committee’s plan to carry the suspension of Russia and its ally Belarus.

Tradition secretary Lucy Frazer wrote to the most important Olympic business companions on the weekend, urging them to assist the ban remaining in place for the Paris 2024 Video games.

The IOC, headed by president Thomas Bach, mentioned: “​​It should be the only accountability of sports activities organisations to determine which athletes can participate in worldwide competitions primarily based completely on their sporting benefit.

“In accordance with this, Olympic sponsors usually are not concerned on this decision-making course of. We hope very a lot that the British authorities will respect the autonomy of sport.”

Frazer laid out her considerations in a letter to the UK chiefs of 13 firms, additionally together with Airbnb, Alibaba, Atos, Bridgestone, Coca-Cola, Intel, Omega SA, Proctor and Gamble, Samsung and Toyota.

“We all know sport and politics in Russia and Belarus are closely intertwined, and we’re decided that the regimes in Russia and Belarus should not be allowed to make use of sport for his or her propaganda functions,” she wrote.

“So long as our considerations and the substantial lack of readability and concrete element on a workable ‘neutrality’ mannequin usually are not addressed, we don’t agree that Russian and Belarusian athletes needs to be allowed again into competitors.

“Noting the IOC’s said place that no remaining selections have been made, we now have strongly urged the IOC to deal with the questions recognized by all international locations and rethink its proposal accordingly.

“As an Olympic Accomplice, I’d welcome your views on this matter and ask you to hitch us in urgent the IOC to deal with the considerations raised in our assertion.”

Russia and Belarus have been frozen out of virtually all worldwide sports activities competitions because the invasion of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin’s troops final yr.

The UK authorities has staged a number of summits of sports activities ministers in assist of sanctions, together with one final month which noticed 36 international locations reaffirm their assist for the ban.

It additionally leaned on Wimbledon organisers the AELTC and the Garden Tennis Affiliation to use an analogous ban at British tournaments final summer time.

Olympic chiefs in January opened the door for Russian and Belarusian athletes to return to the worldwide area, saying it could “discover a pathway” for them to compete in Paris subsequent yr.

British tennis chiefs, in the meantime, have come beneath mounting stress from the boys’s and girls’s excursions to carry their ban for the 2023 grass courtroom season.

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