London urges Olympic sponsors to back Russia, Belarus ban
London, Mar 11 (EFE).- The UK government has written to the biggest Olympic Games’ sponsors, including Coca-Cola, Intel and Visa, to ask them to support a ban on Russia and Belarus in the sporting event.
Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said Friday that she had written a letter to the UK chief executives of the companies to express disagreement with the International Olympic Committee’s proposal to explore “a pathway” for Russian and Belarusian athletes’ participation in upcoming competitions, including Paris 2024.
“We know sport and politics in Russia and Belarus are heavily intertwined, and we are determined that the regimes in Russia and Belarus must not be allowed to use sport for their propaganda purposes,” the minister said in the letter, released by the government.
Frazer criticized the “substantial lack of clarity and concrete detail” in the IOC’s proposal for athletes from both countries to compete as neutrals.
“We do not agree that Russian and Belarusian athletes should be allowed back into competition,” she added.
The British minister said that the government has “strongly urged the IOC to address the questions identified by all countries and reconsider its proposal accordingly.”
“As an Olympic partner, I would welcome your views on this matter and ask you to join us in pressing the IOC to address the concerns raised in our statement,” she added.
“Having hosted the Games in London in 2012 we know what an incredible event it is to be involved in, and we appreciate how vitally important the sponsors are to the Games’ successful delivery,” the conservative politician wrote.
Last month, 35 countries signed a joint petition demanding that Russian and Belarusian athletes be banned from participating in the Games over their role in the invasion of Ukraine.
Among the signatories, in addition to the UK, was France, which will host the Games in 2024, Italy, host of the Winter Olympics in 2026, and the United States, which will organize the 2028 Games. EFE