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Russia responds to ‘unacceptable’ Swedish threats

Swedish skiers have said they will boycott tournaments if Russians are allowed to attend

Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin has said any calls for a boycott of tournaments where Russian athletes are permitted to compete are “discriminatory and unacceptable.”

In comments published on Monday, Swedish cross-country skiers Linn Svahn and Maja Dahlqvist said they would be willing to boycott competitions – including the 2023 World Nordic Ski Championship – if international governing body the FIS lifted its ban on Russians. 

Compatriot Frida Karlsson indicated she might be prepared to take the same step but was still undecided.

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The FIS Council is due to meet later this month, when it could discuss removing the blanket suspension which it initially imposed on Russia and Belarus at the start of March because of the conflict in Ukraine.

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Warned: Kare Geir Lio f Norway. © Jan Christensen / FrontzoneSport via Getty Images
Sports federation warns Norwegian official after anti-Russian demands

Speaking on Tuesday, Russian Sports Minister Matytsin said he would not comment on statements from individuals who are not part of official organizations – but noted that anti-Russian sporting boycotts or bans were counterproductive.

“Statements that discriminate against Belarusian, Russian or any other athletes and restrict their right to participate in competitions are unacceptable,” Matytsin was quoted as saying by Match TV.

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“Separately, we hear some positive statements which say that without Russians, world sport cannot develop.” 

Matytsin noted that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has yet to change its recommendation from February 28, when it advised sports federations not to invite Russian and Belarusian participants to competitions wherever possible.  

“Next year will be important, there will be many competitions for the Olympic Games,” said Matytsin.

“Much depends on the position of the International Olympic Committee, which so far retains recommendations to prevent Russians and Belarusians from participating in international competitions.”

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Stepanova had more stern words for the West. © RIA / Vladimir Astapkovich
Olympic skiing sensation mocks Western predictions of Russian ‘collapse’

Asked for her opinion on the boycott threats from the Swedish skiers, the head of the Russian Cross-Country Ski Federation, Elena Vyalbe, said she was unconcerned. 

“I don’t care, let them boycott it. Competitions will lose their entertainment without Russian skiers. Without the Swedes, nothing will change,” Vyalbe said defiantly.

IOC president Thomas Bach suggested to Italian media last month that his organization could change its stance to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to return under neutral status – but only if they “distanced” themselves from the actions of their government. 

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That statement was met with anger among sporting officials in Russia, who argued it would be tantamount to making political demands of sportsmen and women – something which is contrary to Olympic principles.  

https://ift.tt/Y6a3jtX 11, 2022 at 06:26PM
from RT – Daily news

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