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“Obviously, there cannot be Russian flag at the Paris Games, I think there is consensus,” said the French President. commenting on the neutrality of athletes.


French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin. IMAGE: AP

Russian flag cannot be shown at the Paris Olympics “at a time when Russia is committing war crimes” during the ongoing war in
neighbouring Ukraine, French President Emmanuel Macron has said. The Russian and Belarusian athletes will compete under
the ‘neutral’ status in the 2024 Games in Paris. While the Russian and Belarusian athletes are allowed to compete in the next
Olympic Games in Paris, there “cannot be the Russian flag at the Paris Olympic Games,” as these flags have “no place at a time
when it has committed war crimes,” Macron outlined, according to the interview published in the sports newspaper L’Equip
published on Wednesday.

A consensus over not showing Russian flag

Speaking on the participation of the Russian athletes and swimmers, Macron said that he thought there was “consensus’ over not
showing the Russian flag at the games. “Obviously, there cannot be the Russian flag at the Paris Games, I think there is consensus,” said the French President. He insisted that the final decision about allowing the Russian and Belarusian athletes to
take part in the competitions would be made by the International Olympic Committee (10C) and its head Thomas Bach.

Athletes from Moscow’s long-time ally Belarus have also been asked to assume neutral status in international competitions in 2024. French leader clarified that he hoped not displaying the Russian flag would be “a decision of conscience in the Olympic world.” Macon elaborated that it’s not up to the host state to decide what the International Olympic Committee (IC) can or cannot do. Macron noted that the committee will also determine if the players actively supported the war in Ukraine. But certainly, the athletes will have to compete with a neutral lag, as per the IOC’s decision. 

“The real question that the Olympic world will have to decide is what place to give to these Russian athletes who sometimes have prepared for a lifetime, and can also be the victims of this regime,” said the French President. 

The French President reiterated that it would be difficult to differentiate between Russian athletes who support Putin’s war efforts and those who are victims of the regime. “This is where the Olympic world has, in conscience, its opinion to give and guarantees to specify, and it must be understood by the Ukrainians. This is the balancing act that we will have to carry out,” Macron stressed, commenting on why the Olympics would allow the Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate in the games despite that they face sanctions from a multitude of sports since Russia invaded Ukraine in February of 2022. 

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