IOC president Bach worried about growing misuse of sport for political purposes

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LAUSANNE, July 17 (Xinhua) — In his opening speech to the 136th Session of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) – the first-ever session to be held by video conference, IOC president Thomas Bach on Friday expressed his concern about the growing misuse of sport for political purposes.

Bach said that the momentum of solidarity initially prompted by the pandemic will need to be sustained in order for the world to overcome the crisis.

“This crisis is far from over,” Bach said. “This situation will need all our solidarity, creativity, determination and flexibility.”

“Unfortunately, we are already seeing clear signs in some parts of the world that the scenario is on the rise, where society and nations are driven by even more egoism and self-interest. This leads to more confrontation and to the politicization of all aspects of life: culture, economy, health, science, humanitarian aid; even the fight against doping is already being targeted.”

Bach highlighted the growing misuse of sport for political purposes as one of the biggest challenges.

“I am afraid that this threat to sport is even bigger now. In some people’s minds, the ghosts of the past are rearing their ugly heads. Boycotts and discrimination because of political background or nationality are once again a real danger. This is all the more unfortunate as this comes exactly 40 years after the completely unsuccessful boycott of the Olympic Games Moscow 1980 by some countries. It appears that today, some do not want to learn anything from history: that such sporting boycotts do not have any political effect whatsoever,” Bach said.

“A sporting boycott only punishes the athletes of the boycotting country and deprive their people of sharing in the success, pride and joy of their Olympic team. The only political effect the boycott of 1980 had, was to trigger the revenge boycott of the following Olympic Games Los Angeles 1984,” added Bach.

Bach called for the Olympic movement to convince governments and the entire international community of the irreplaceable value of the Olympic Games. “It is the only event today that brings the entire world together in peace, solidarity and without any discrimination,” Bach concluded. Enditem

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