Lukashenka about ban imposed by Olympic Committee: Why should my kids be punished?

On December 8, Alyaksandr Lukashenka made a comment on yesterday’s decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to adopt provisional measures in respect of the National Olympic Committee of Belarus (NOC).

“We need to take legal action. Let [IOC President Thomas] Bach and his gang tell me what my fault is. Is it about me protecting my country?! The overwhelming majority of you support me in this policy. I protect my country. I protect you. Why punish me by banning me from some events?<….> Okay, you punish me, but why involve my children? What sanctions have they introduced after all? Not to invite to events? I have not attended them for 25 years and I will survive it. I was most outraged by their decision against my children. This is absolutely groundless,” state-run news agency BelTA quotes him.

On Monday, the IOC announced introducing certain restrictions amid the post-election protests in Belarus.

“In view of the allegations and elements received by the IOC and the responses provided by the NOC of Belarus, the IOC has come to the conclusion that it appears that the current NOC leadership has not appropriately protected the Belarusian athletes from political discrimination within the NOC, their member sports federations or the sports movement. This is contrary to the fundamental principles of the Olympic Charter, and therefore seriously affects the reputation of the Olympic Movement,” the statement reads.

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Among other things, the Executive Board decided to:

  • Exclude the currently elected members of the Executive Board of the NOC of Belarus from all IOC events and activities, including the Olympic Games. In particular. this refers to Alyaksandr Lukashenka (NOC President) and his eldest son Viktar Lukashenka, a legal representative of the NOC;
  • Suspend all financial payments to the NOC of Belarus, with the exception of payments related to the preparations of the Belarusian athletes for, and their participation in, the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022;
  • Request the relevant International Federations to make sure that all eligible Belarusian athletes can take part in qualification events for the upcoming Olympic Games without any political discrimination.

Alyaksandra Herasimenia, a famous Belarusian swimmer and Head of the Sport Solidarity Foundation, commented on the IOC sanctions:

“We have achieved the restoration of the rights of athletes, those athletes who were persecuted for the peaceful expression of their views. Now the athletes who were expelled and fired from the national teams [by the Belarusian authorities] will be able to take part in international competitions. And the officials who did not care about their rights will be punished.”

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