MINSK, 9 June (BelTA) - Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), commented on the decision of the Wimbledon organizers to ban Russian and Belarusian players from the tournament, BelTA learned from Inside The Games.
In April, the Wimbledon administration banned tennis players from Belarus and Russia from participating in the tournament, which caused a wave of criticism in the sports community. On 8 June, during the General Assembly of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) in Lausanne, Thomas Bach said that he did not like that the decision to suspend was made under pressure from the British government.
“Our task is to keep sports outside of the negative political trend. We need the respect of the Governments for our role. Look at our friends from tennis. In Paris, Belarusian and Russian players can play as neutral athletes. In London, at Wimbledon, the Government is saying no way, and if we allow this, if we give into this, then we are lost,” the IOC president said.
According to Thomas Bach, it is impossible to guarantee fair international competition in sport if governments are deciding according to their own political interests who can take part in a competition and who cannot. “Today, it is Russia and Belarus, tomorrow it is your country. There is no country in the world which is loved by every other Government,” the IOC president said.