WOA supports Olympic Summit decision on athletes right to compete

14 | 12 | 2022

WOA supports the Olympic Summit decision calling on the IOC to explore ways to allow athletes of all countries who are in respect of the Olympic Charter to compete in sporting events no matter the actions of their governments.

WOA President Joel Bouzou said: “The right of athletes to compete free from political interference is enshrined in the Olympic Charter. Athletes have a right to compete as individuals. They should not be disadvantaged because of the decisions of their government. This is a position that the WOA Executive Committee first agreed on and announced back in April.

“The situation in Ukraine has led to the need for many difficult decisions to be made. The safety, security and wellbeing of athletes must be the main priority when those decisions are made, however the right of participation is a fundamental principle which must be preserved unless it is impossible to do so. While governments might be sanctioned, athletes cannot and should not be held accountable for their government’s actions”.

WOA looks forward to being involved in the consultation process to be undertaken by the IOC to determine the next steps when reviewing the protective measures it implemented concerning athletes’ participation in competitions.

WOA President Bouzou added: “There is no other organisation with the wealth and history of Olympic competition experience than WOA, its member National Olympians Associations and its 20,000-strong OLY Olympians database. The views of those who have competed in Olympic Games stretching back decades and who fully understand the issues at stake and have lived the values of the Olympic Movement will be very helpful for the IOC as part of its evaluation process.”