INTERVIEW: FIG Head Calls for Separation of Sports from Politics


Tokyo, May 18 (Jiji Press)--Morinari Watanabe, president of the International Gymnastics Federation, or FIG, has called for the separation of sports from politics, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine is having broad implications for the world of sports.

"I think sports and politics should be separated in principle," Watanabe, also a member of the International Olympic Committee, said in a recent interview with Jiji Press.

Amid the war in Ukraine, the IOC has recommended that athletes from Russia and Belarus be excluded from international competition, and many sport organizations including the FIG are following the recommendation, although the view that political neutrality should be maintained in sports has been spreading in recent years.

Explaining the reason why the FIG decided to bar athletes from the two countries from international events, the FIG head said that they and related personnel may be harassed or exposed to danger during such events.

"If asked whether Russian athletes should be blamed, I would say no," Watanabe stressed.

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