The Polish Federation is ready to follow the recommendations of the International Olympic Committee and allow athletes from Belarus and Russia to compete. However, the conditions set by the federation for the participation of such athletes are extremely strict.
The official position of the Polish Fencing Federation regarding the organization of the Women’s Foil World Cup was published on the Federation’s official website.
According to this statement, the Polish Fencing Federation plans to hold this year’s World Cup in the Polish city of Poznan.
“The Recommendation of the International Olympic Committee provides for the criteria for admitting RUS/BLR competitors to participate in the competition, therefore the organizer of the Women’s Foil World Cup in Poznan, i.e. the Polish Fencing Federation and the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, reserves the right to strictly control the fulfillment of both requirements by the competitors, countries for all the criteria listed there.”
Therefore, fencers and support staff holding a Russian or Belarusian passport will be required to submit a written statement in which they declare that:
- they do not support the war in Ukraine, which is a flagrant violation of international law and international treaties;
- meet the conditions of neutrality, i.e. they are not associated with the regime of Vladimir Putin, against whom the International Criminal Court in The Hague issued an arrest warrant as a person suspected of committing war crimes in Ukraine;
- are not soldiers or are not employed in Russian or Belarusian military or national security bodies.
Establishing such requirements, including the requirement of a written statement of non-support for the war by the Russians, is an extremely nice move by the Polish side. Based on the results of this World Cup, we will be able to see how ready Russian athletes really are to declare in writing their neutrality and condemnation of the war and the Vladimir Putin regime.
Will Russian athletes have the courage and civic consciousness to take such a step, especially from a country where 75 percent of the population supports Putin’s regime and the aggressive war against Ukraine?
And if Russian athletes are not ready to do so, how will the IOC continue to refer to “human rights” and “neutrality of sport”?
As a reminder, on March 28, the IOC recommended that athletes from Russia and Belarus be allowed to return to international competitions in a neutral status.
Earlier, the German Fencing Federation refused to host the World Fencing Cup due to the admission of Russians and Belarusians. More than 300 fencers from around the world opposed the reinstatement of athletes from Russia and Belarus in international tournaments. Following Germany, the French Fencing Federation canceled the World Cup in men’s epee, and Denmark canceled fencing tournaments.