Putin proposes World Friendship Games after Paris 2024 Olympics

Russian President, Vlad­imir Putin, has officially proposed to his government that they organise the “World Friendship Games” shortly after the Paris 2024 Olympics.

The Games would be an inau­gural BRICS Games, involving the association comprised of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Putin gave Prime Minister, Mikhail Mishustin, until July 1 to make suitable arrangements, according to the Kremlin.

The proposal may be dealt with at the BRICS Summit to be held in Johannesburg in August, which the Russian leader could attend.

In early May, Putin accused officials of international sports organisations to “harm the interna­tional Olympic Movement”, adding that sport should serve as a bridge between peoples and countries “es­pecially when there are conflicts.”

The initiative has come from the Russian Minister of Sports, Oleg Matytsin, who in March also pro­posed hosting the first Games of the Shanghai Cooperation Organi­sation (SCO), which includes coun­tries such as China, India, Pakistan and the Central Asian Republics.

“Our joint mission is to do everything possible so that athletes and major international competi­tions are not the object of political games,” Matytsin said.

“This is only possible under con­ditions of equal rights and respect among all participants.”

In March the International Olympic Committee, which has yet to rule definitively on whether Russian or Belarusian athletes will be able to compete at Paris 2024 under any circumstances, said that teams and athletes who support the war or belong to clubs linked to the armed forces or security forces would not be eligible to take part.

According to Matytsin, in these circumstances, even if Russian athletes are allowed to compete as “neutral” individuals the “maxi­mum number of participants from the Russian side will be about 180 athletes.”

After the discussions in early May, the Kremlin’s official website quoted Matytsin as saying: “We propose to intensify the practice of holding competitions in an open format with the invitation of part­ner countries.

“We continue to fulfil your [Putin’s] instruction to organise the World Friendship Games in the fall of 2024.

“We consider it necessary to use the resources of both Russian and international public and state or­ganisations to the maximum for the successful holding of the Games, which should be held on a regular basis in the future.”

Among those linked with organ­ising the event are Alexey Sorokin, the former chief executive of the Organising Committee for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, staged in Russia.

A multi-sport event known as the Friendship Games was organ­ised in the Soviet Union and eight of its allies in 1984 in what was widely viewed as an alternative to the Los Angeles 1984 Olympics because of a Moscow-led boycott.

This followed an American-led boycott of Moscow 1980. —

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