Keep politics out of 2020 Tokyo Games, says IOC's Bach




"First of all, the mission of the Olympic Games is to unite and not to divide. We are the only event in the world which manages to get the entire world together there in a peaceful competition and any kind of boycott for whatever reason is against this mission of the Olympic Games, so, I ask them to respect this mission of the Olympic Games."



"All the boycotts we had to face very particularly in the, in the 1980s, there with Moscow and the counter-boycott then in Los Angeles which brought the Olympic Games at the brink of demise, that all these boycotts politically had no effect."

STORY: Politicians and athletes should keep politics out of this year's Tokyo Olympic Games to protect the event's neutrality and its status as a peaceful meeting place, International Olympic Committee president, Thomas Bach said on Thursday (January 9).

The Games have seen both political protests by athletes in the past as well as boycotts of nations and Bach said an infusion of politics into the Games in Tokyo starting in July would be bad.

Tensions between the United States and Iran have risen sharply in recent days prompting concerns across the Middle East and beyond while further east South Korea has said there is an urgent need to improve ties with North Korea.

China, Japan and South Korea recently agreed to work together to promote dialogue between the United States and North Korea.

He said he asked them to "be politically neutral" and to not use the Olympic Games as a "stage for their political purposes", he added.

The Games of 1980 and 1984 were hit by boycotts that did not have any results, Bach said.

More recently, at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympics, Egyptian judoka Islam El Shehaby was sent home after refusing to shake the hand of Israeli Or Sasson after their bout.

In October 2019 Iran's judokas were banned indefinitely from international competitions until it could provide strong guarantees that its athletes would be allowed to face Israelis.

The ban followed a protective suspension imposed on the Iran Judo Federation in September 2019 for putting pressure on one of its fighters to withdraw from the world judo championships to avoid having to face an Israeli opponent.

The IOC also said on Thursday (January 9) that a rule in the Olympic Charter limiting athletes' sponsorship opportunities is benefiting thousands more athletes who do not have sponsors or major financial backers.

Rule 40 of the Olympic charter states that participants in the Olympic Games cannot allow their "person, name, picture or sports performances to be used for advertising purposes during the Olympic Games."

It is aimed at protecting the rights of the IOC's own Olympic sponsors who contribute billions of dollars to the organisation of the Games.

However, the German Cartel Office ruled in February 2019 that the International Olympic Committee and the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) were subject to competition laws and had to grant more rights for promotional activities ahead of and during the Games.

The decision triggered changes in several countries in favour of athletes and their personal sponsors, including in the United States, ahead of this year's Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

"With Rule 40 the conversation was about the solidarity model and how as a commission we very much feel there needs to be an understanding, how we look at it from a global aspect and not from an individual aspect", IOC athletes' commission chief Kirsty Coventry said.

IOC president said the 35-year-old Russian ice-skating who fell on Tuesday evening (January 7) during a rehearsal was stable for the moment as her state improved slightly during the night.

According to the Swiss police, for a reason the investigation will have to determine, the artist who lives in Germany suddenly lost equilibrium and fell from about a five meters height, as she was being taken up and tracted through a system of a ring which was connected via a cable to an engine fixed to the ceiling of the skating rink.

She was transported to Lausanne hospital.