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Finnish Olympic Committee calls for competition ban on Russia, Belarus

The committee "strongly" expressed its opinion about the matter to the IOC during a conference call as well as in writing, according to its chair, Jan Vapaavuori.

The Finnish committee said that if the International Olympic Committee (IOC) should only allow athletes from those countries to take part in competitions under strict conditions. Image: Antti Aimo-Koivisto / Lehtikuva
Yle News,
STT

The Finnish Olympic Committee said on Tuesday that it does not support the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in international sports events, following Russia's attack on Ukraine.

The Finnish committee said that if the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decides to allow athletes from those countries to take part in competitions, it must be done under strict conditions.

Finnish Olympic Committee chair Jan Vapaavuori said that the organisation "strongly" expressed its opinion about the matter to the IOC during a conference call as well as in writing.

"We do not support the return of Russian and Belarusian athletes to competitive activities at this stage," Vapaavuori said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Finnish Olympic Committee CEO and Secretary General, Taina Susiluoto, noted in the statement that it was clear the views of the Nordic countries about the issue are in the minority.

She said that it appears the majority of countries seem prepared to allow Russians and Belarusians to take part without their countries' uniforms, flags or colours.

Strict conditions

If that does happen, Susiluoto said Finland would call for strict conditions, including that sanctions on the sports organisations of those countries should remain in force, and that individual athletes could only take part as neutral participants that do not display national emblems.

"National emblems and expressions of opinion must not be allowed among the public either, and the international sports community must continue to support Ukraine," she said.

"Additionally, it must be ensured that the athletes who are permitted to return are tested sufficiently and comprehensively for doping before being permitted to take part in competitions," Susiluoto said.

Susiluoto added that the Finnish organisation was awaiting the IOC's decision on the matter and will comment about their decision "after consulting our Nordic colleagues."

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