OFFICE OF THE SPOKESPERSON
MAY 4, 2023
The text of the following statement was agreed upon by the ministers of sport or their equivalent from the countries and individuals listed at the bottom of the statement.
We, as Ministers and equivalent senior representatives for sport of our like-minded countries, have noted the recommended conditions of participation for individual neutral athletes and support personnel with a Russian or Belarusian passport in international sports competitions, and the accompanying press statement, published by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on 28 March 2023. We maintain that the Russian state, which has broken the Olympic Truce twice, must not be allowed to use sport to legitimise its barbaric and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, nor should the Belarusian state be able to use sport to legitimise its complicity in Russia’s war of aggression.
On the IOC recommendations, we are clear that while some aspects of the strong concerns we raised in our collective statement of 21 February 2023 have been addressed by the IOC, there are substantial issues remaining, not least around military connections of athletes, state funding, the definition of what constitutes teams, and on enforcement mechanisms.
We underline again that our position is not one of discrimination against individuals on the basis of their passport, and we respect the rights of all athletes to be treated without any discrimination in accordance with the Olympic Charter. We are focused on fair sporting competition as well as on ensuring that Russian and Belarusian athletes are in no way appearing as representatives of their states, as the IOC is also seeking to ensure through its recommendations.
While fully respecting the autonomy of sporting organisations, we will closely watch the implementation of the recommendations by the IOC and international sports federations over the coming weeks. If these issues are not addressed, we would expect the IOC to reconsider its approach. Signed by:
Albania: Evis Kushi, Minister of Education
Australia: The Hon Anika Wells MP, Minister for Sport
Austria: Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler, Minister of Arts and Culture, Civil Service and Sport
Belgium: Ben Weyts, Vice Minister-President for Education, Sport, the Flemish Periphery, and Animal Welfare of the Flemish Government. This signature commits the Flemish Community, the French-speaking Community and the German-speaking Community of Belgium.
Bulgaria: Vessela Letcheva, Minister of Youth and Sports
Canada: The Honourable Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Sport
Croatia: Dr. Nikolina Brnjac, Minister of Tourism and Sport
Cyprus: Prodromos Prodromou, Minister of Education, Sport and Youth
Czech Republic: Jaroslav Miller, Deputy Minister for Education, Youth and Sports; Ondřej Šebek, President of the National Sports Agency
Denmark: Jakob Engel-Schmidt, Minister of Culture
Estonia: Heidy Purga, Minister of Culture
Finland: Petri Honkonen, Minister of Science and Culture
France: Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, Minister of Sports and the Olympic and Paralympic Games
Germany: Mahmut Özdemir MP, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community
Greece: Lefteris Avgenakis, Deputy Minister of Culture and Sport
Iceland: Ásmundur Einar Daðason, Minister of Education and Children
Ireland: Thomas Byrne, Minister of State for Sport and Physical Education
Italy: Andrea Abodi, Minister for Sport and Youth
Japan: H.E. NAGAOKA Keiko, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
Republic of Korea: H.E. PARK Bo Gyoon, Minister of Culture, Sports & Tourism
Latvia: Anda Čakša, Minister of Education and Science
Liechtenstein: Dominique Hasler, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Education and Sport
Lithuania: Dr. Jurgita Šiugždinienė, Minister of Education, Science and Sport
Luxembourg: Georges Engel, Minister of Sport
Netherlands: Conny Helder, Minister for Long-term Care and Sport
New Zealand: Hon Grant Robertson, Minister for Sport and Recreation
Norway: Anette Trettebergstuen, Minister of Culture and Equality
Poland: Kamil Bortniczuk, Minister of Sport and Tourism
Portugal: João Paulo Correia, Secretary of State for Youth and Sport
Slovakia: Ján Horecký, Minister of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic
Slovenia: Matjaž Han, Minister of the Economy, Tourism and Sport
Spain: Miquel Octavi Iceta i Llorens, Minister of Culture and Sport
Sweden: Jakob Forssmed, Minister for Social Affairs and Public Health
Ukraine: Vadym Guttsait, Minister for Youth and Sports of Ukraine
United Kingdom: The Rt Hon Lucy Frazer KC MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
United States of America: Lee Satterfield, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs
For further information, please contact the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, ECA-Press@state.gov.