World athletes try to be 'politically neutral' during conflicts, says Sebastian Coe



CNN

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said his organization tries to be „politically neutral” when dealing with the impact of global conflicts and geopolitics on sport.

There have been athletes from Russia and Belarus Excluded From March 2022, the World Athletics Championships, events hosted by the global governing body for track and field, have seen growing calls for similar sports bans on Israeli athletes. War on Hamas in Gaza.

However, Koh said he sees Russia's war in Ukraine as a „very different situation” to the Israel-Gaza conflict, explaining that „you have to deal with what's in front of you.”

speaks CNN SportAhead of the World Indoor Championships in Glasgow, Scotland, Amanda Davies, co, said: “We are not the United Nations. We are not a political organization. We are the International Federation of Sports.

„My responsibility is to make sure our sport is global, and where we can – it's not always possible, but where we can – we're politically neutral.

„But then we take a stand — we've taken a stand on Russia and Belarus … We recognize that whenever you make a judgment politically, you're setting a precedent, but I think you have to deal with those issues as they arise.”

Coe, a 1,500m gold medalist at the 1980 and 1984 Olympics, is a former Conservative Member of Parliament in England who later sat in the House of Lords. He retires from the Upper House of Parliament On January 31, 2022.

Simon Hoffman/Getty Images

Sebastian Coe has been World Athletics President for eight years.

According to the health ministry in Gaza, more than 30,200 people have been killed since the Israel-Hamas war began in October.

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A background Rising death tollSports organizations and lawmakers have called for sanctions on Israeli athletes.

Last month, 26 French lawmakers was invited The International Olympic Committee (IOC) should impose the same sanctions on Israeli athletes as those imposed on athletes from Russia and Belarus.

before that, 12 Middle East Football Associations It urged FIFA to ban Israel's national football team, urging the governing body to „take a decisive stand against atrocities in Palestine and war crimes in Gaza”.

CNN contacted Israel's National Olympic Committee, FIFA and the IOC for a response.

„You have to deal with what's in front of you,” Koh said of World Athletics' stance on Israeli participation in track and field events. „At this point, other companies have to make some judgment calls.

„We will look at it, we always look at it in the game and in many other issues, and that will be for the future. But at the moment, the most important thing we can do is to ensure that, where possible, the game is maintained in an intolerably difficult situation.

Dylan Martinez/Reuters

Ko speaks during the closing ceremony of last year's world championships in Budapest, Hungary.

World Athletics' current ban means Russian and Belarusian track and field athletes cannot compete at this year's Olympics in Paris, as the IOC says individual sports federations must have first say on whether athletes from these countries can attempt to qualify. For games.

The stance has been welcomed by Ukrainian athletes, who argue that Russian participation in sporting events strengthens the country's „propaganda machine”.

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However, the IOC Cleared the way Russian and Belarusian athletes are allowed to participate in this year's Games, provided they compete as neutral athletes and meet certain eligibility requirements.

Asked whether the World Athletics ban on Russians and Belarusians would be revised, Koh said: „We actually have a small working group that is looking at the circumstances where we need to lift that exemption.

“At the moment, there doesn't seem to be much of a difference. The issue of competitive integrity has not changed. In fact, if anything, it's gotten worse. So we didn't close the door. We will never do that. It's important that you keep track.”

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