Writer, translator and director of the Václav Havel Library Michael Žantovský spoke (pictured on February 18, 2021).
Prague – The independent expert group, which is supposed to find legal arguments for the non-participation of Russians and Belarusians at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, will be led by diplomat Michael Žantovský. The Czech Olympic Committee (ČOV), which initiated the creation of the group, informed about this in a press release. It is composed of six experts in sports and Olympic issues, international and Olympic law and diplomatic relations. Its members are already communicating with each other, the first face-to-face meeting should take place this month.
The goal of the group is to design barriers in which it would be possible to prevent the participation of Russia and its allies in the next Olympics and in the qualifications for them. Group coordinator Žantovský has rich diplomatic experience, he was Czech ambassador to the USA, Israel and Britain.
“Sport is supposed to be independent of politics, but it remains part of this world and bears responsibility for it together with all of us. Russian aggression against Ukraine is in direct contradiction to the second principle of Olympism, which is to create a peaceful society that cares about preserving human dignity. Therefore it is unthinkable for Russia to participate in the Olympic Games if the aggression continues. The same must apply to Belarus, as the state from whose territory a significant part of this aggression began, and to all athletes who approve, support or do not condemn such aggression. I understand the work of the emerging expert commission as finding legal and political ways to fulfill these principles,” he said in a press release.
Three-time Olympic medalist in shooting Kateřina Emmons will offer a sporting perspective. Žantovský will also be joined by a colleague from a diplomatic background, Petr Kolář, who was ambassador to a number of countries, including the USA, and also deputy foreign minister. The current Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be represented by Martin Smolek, senior director of the legal and consular section and government representative for representing the Czech Republic before the Court of Justice of the European Union. The legal perspective will be added by Marek Procházka, who, among other things, specializes in compliance with the rules of the code of ethics and dispute resolution. The sixth member of the group is senator Jiří Růžička.
The Senate just rejected the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the next summer Olympics on Wednesday and called on the sewage treatment plant to try to prevent it “by all means”. The possibility of the participation of selected athletes from Russia and Belarus, who would start under a neutral flag under the five rings, was accepted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The WWTP repeatedly declares that it does not agree with this. “The Czech Olympic Committee is clearly against the participation of Russia and Belarus in the Olympic Games in Paris 2024. It supports the sanctions that are still in force, according to which Russian and Belarusian athletes cannot participate in sports competitions. However, we are convinced that we can solve the situation only through legal and diplomatic steps . We are not experts in international politics, and that is why we approached these personalities to help us design guardrails that will prevent totalitarian regimes from abusing the Olympic Games for their promotion,” said its chairman Jiří Kejval.
The leadership of Czech Olympism about its regularly informs the IOC about the activities. “The goal is for the group to prepare its proposals completely independently and then submit them directly to the IOC. At the same time, we are also in contact with or following the activities of other national European Olympic Committees who perceive the situation in the same way as we do. We also appreciate that our steps coincide with the attitude of the National Sports Agency, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the political representation of the Czech Republic,” added Kejval.