German Interior Minister proposes visa ban for Russian athletes

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German Interior Minister proposes visa ban for Russian athletes
Interior Minister Nancy Faeser says a 2036 Olympics hosted in Berlin would have to be dealt with in a special way. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Kay Nietfeld

Nancy Faeser says that if Russian and Belarusian athletes are once again allowed to compete in international competitions, they may be banned from entering the country to attend competitions on German soil.


With the International Olympic Committee (IOC) having now recommended that Russian and Belarusian athletes be allowed back into international competitions again, Faeser is criticizing the sports body — calling the recommendation “unacceptable” for Ukrainian athletes.

Although Germany cannot contest the IOC recommendation itself, or those other athletic governing bodies make, Faeser says a ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes from entering the country would stop them from being able to attend competitions taking place here.


“Countries in which major sporting events take place are not powerless,” the Interior Minister told Germany’s Funke group of newspapers, saying Ukrainian athletes should not have to face off against competitors from a country that is engaged in a war against Ukrainian civilians. “Offering the warmonger Putin a propaganda stage would betray all values of the sport.”

The IOC has put conditions on Russian and Belarusian athletes returning to competition, saying they must not be connected to Russian security agencies or the military, and must compete under a neutral flag with no national anthem.

READ ALSO: Germany to open Olympic bases to Ukrainian athletes

However, international sporting federations are divided on the issue. The World Wrestling Association and World Gymnastics Federation argue Russian and Belarusian athletes should be readmitted. Governing bodies for athletics and equestrian say the athletes should remain barred from competing.

Regardless of what individual sporting federations decide, Faeser says Germany will still look at visa bans for Russian and Belarusian athletes.

“If we organize international competitions in Germany, then we can act accordingly,” Faeser said. “We will always act with a clear stance here.”



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