While on Monday morning, the French National Olympic and Sports Committee had brought together all the sports federations in order to adopt a common position on the question of Russian athletes, the body announced in the evening, via a press release, that it “supports the IOC’s recommendations to international federations and organizers of sporting events. »
Earlier in the day, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) broke out of its usual neutrality to recommend that international sports federations and organizers of sporting events “not to invite or allow the participation of Russian athletes and official representatives and Belarusians at international competitions. »
“The CNOSF, deeply shocked by the events in Ukraine, fully supports the recommendation issued by the IOC Executive Board. It therefore asks the national federations and the organizers of sporting events to get closer to the international federations in order to be part of this approach”, specifies the press release.
During the morning meeting with the presidents of federations, present in large numbers, Brigitte Henriques recalled the instructions mentioned on Friday during an interview between the Minister of Sports and the main players in French sport. It had been recommended that the federations no longer send tricolor delegations to Russia and Belarus. Reciprocity, namely the non-invitation of Russian athletes to competitions organized in France, imposed itself, in particular because of the closure of European airspace to Russian planes. The sports movement, however, expected a “clearer position from the state”.
The CIO moves the lines
Monday morning’s meeting ended without taking a real position from the CNOSF, some presidents fearing in particular, in the event of the banishment of Russian athletes, an unfavorable reaction from their international federations, some of which are led by Russians. Hence their desire for the government to take an official position on the issue.
The IOC’s position finally made it possible to move the lines. By supporting the position of its parent company, the Olympic committee also recommends the banishment of Russian athletes. However, he asks the federations to get closer… to their international federations, which, for some, risks turning into a Kafkaesque situation. This is particularly the case of fencing, whose international federation has been led with an iron fist since 2008, by the Russian oligarch Alicher Ousmanov. The French fencing federation had however, in the evening, “called for the greatest firmness” and “encouraged the initiative of the IOC”. “In connection with the French sports movement, the CNOSF and the Ministry of Sports, the French Fencing Federation will apply all the necessary recommendations”, specified the FFE in its press release.
The question now arises for the competitions organized on French soil in the coming weeks. The only two Russian athletes registered for Sunday’s athletics meeting at the AccorArena have withdrawn. The French ice sports federation, which organizes the world skating championships in Montpellier from March 21 to 27, explained to us that discussions were currently taking place with the international federation about the numerous Russian skaters. The Russian swordsmen should not be present at the Monal challenge, mid-April in Paris, while the organizers of Roland-Garros, explain to us that they exchange with the organizers of the other grand slam tournaments in order to adopt a common position. Regarding the other tournaments organized in France, the French tennis federation “will follow the recommendations of the Government”.