Dhe calls for Belarus to be suspended from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are growing louder. On Friday, participants in a protest march in Lausanne handed the IOC an open letter calling for the National Olympic Committee of Belarus (NOCRB) to be excluded for violations of the Olympic Charter. In addition, Belarus is to be denied hosting of all international competitions. The ice hockey world championships in Belarus and Latvia are planned for the coming year.
Led by the former swimming world champion and three-time Olympic medalist Aljaksandra Herassimenja, the signatories accuse the NOCRB, among other things, of “turning a blind eye to multiple cases of discrimination and violence”. The controversial head of state Alexander Lukashenka, against whom protests have been taking place for weeks, is also president of the Belarusian NOK.
After the controversial re-election of Lukashenka and the subsequent protests in the country, more than 900 athletes had signed a petition calling for an end to the violence. As a result, the Belarusian sports organizations put pressure on these athletes. 15 have been arrested, four are still in prison and over 20 athletes have been banned from exercising.
In a statement on Friday, the IOC once again expressed “serious concerns” about the situation of athletes in Belarus. The IOC had already announced an expansion of the investigation at the beginning of October. They wanted to find out whether the NOK of Belarus was fulfilling its obligations to its athletes as provided for in the Olympic Charter.
When asked whether the country is threatened with exclusion from the Olympic Games in Tokyo, IOC President Thomas Bach said: “I think the Olympic Charter is very clear: a NOC must conform to the rules. In the event of a violation of the Charter, the IOC will take the measures and sanctions provided for in the Charter. “