Chairman of the Czech Olympic Committee Jiří Kejval spoke at a press conference, February 20, 2023, Prague.
Prague – According to its chairman Jiří Kejval, the Czech Olympic Committee (ČOV) wants to actively participate in the negotiations on the participation or non-participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the Olympic Games in Paris 2024. But at a meeting with journalists emphasized that it is still true that the WWTP is against their start at the top event of the next season. That is why he initiated the creation of an expert group, which is supposed to try to find the legal basis on the basis of which athletes from countries that participate in the war conflict in Ukraine should not be allowed to present themselves in Paris.
“We have three options, what we can do at the Czech Olympic Committee. We can fold our hands and wait to see what happens. The second option is that we start informally slandering the international sports community and asserting our opinion. Or we will try to solve it through diplomatic and legal means and submit proposals. Try to be at the negotiating table where the possible participation or non-participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes will be discussed,” Kejval said, adding that the WWTP chose the third option, which it considers the most complicated.
At the same time, Kejval pointed out that the possible start of athletes from Russia and Belarus in Paris will be decided by the executive committee of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), in which the Czech Republic is not represented. The expert group, the creation of which the WWTP informed already last week, should support its opinion with the Olympic Charter and the UN Charter of Fundamental Human Rights.
“It should be an expert group with a capital E. It should not include people from the sports environment, we are not international lawyers. We would like it to include experts with experience in international diplomacy, law. Based on the documents we receive from them , we would generally like to prevent dictatorial regimes from abusing the Olympic Games for their own promotion. We are not only concerned with these Games, but also others,” said Kejval. The composition of the group should be approved by the executive committee of the ČOV in two weeks.
The president of the ČOV also pointed to the fact that the possible start of the Russians and Belarusians is largely determined by the individual international federations and unions that determine the qualification conditions for the Olympic Games . Representatives of both countries are currently not allowed to participate in the European qualifiers, but it is said that they could qualify in competitions in Asia. According to Kejval, it will be important how World Athletics, as one of the largest federations, decides.
“By shouting from Prague, we will only achieve that no one will talk to us. substantiated proposals, so it has a much better chance. However, it is true that the 45 European Olympic Committees are united. However, the IOC includes 206 states,” Kejval pointed out.