The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Monday banned Belarus’ long-time ruler Aleksander Lukashenko along with his son Victor and two other officials from attending the Olympic Games and cut payments to the country’s National Olympic Committee (NOC) as part of provisional sanctions, amid a violent crackdown on protesters, following a disputed presidential election.

The decision was based on the reason that “the current NOC leadership has not appropriately protected the Belarusian athletes from political discrimination within the NOC, their member sports federations, or the sports movement,” the Lausanne-based organization said in a statement. 

“This is contrary to the fundamental principles of the Olympic Charter, and therefore seriously affects the reputation of the Olympic movement,” it added.

Reacting to the provisional suspension, Lukashenko described the move as “politically motivated,” that aims to “exert pressure” to Belarus’ NOC, whilst labelling IOC as a “gang” that should be referred to court. 

“We need to go to court. Let [IOC President Thomas] Bach and the gang tell me what my fault is – that I am defending my country-?” Lukashenka said on December 8 during a visit to a hospital, RFE/RL reported.

Despite the cuts in financial payments to Belarus’ NOC, IOC will continue supporting financially the Belarusian athletes preparing for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.


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