On 5 December, the international Olympic Committee decided to suspend the Russian team from participation in the Olympic winter games in Pyeongchang in the Korean allegations of anti-doping rule violation. At the same time, the head of the IOC Richard Bach stressed that “clean” athletes will be allowed to participate at the event, but under a neutral flag, no national anthem. Take to the arena our will under the guise of “Olympic athletes of Russia” and not “team Russia”. How and to whom it will issue individual invitations, Bach did not specify, but to solve this issue is to be right for the IOC, not the sport federations, as in the case of the summer Olympic games in Rio.
After the decision to ban the Russian flag and anthem at the Olympics has become official, followed by immediate reaction of politicians and sports officials. And if the speak harshly and call for a boycott of the event, the second more reserved in the estimates.
Vice-speaker of the state Duma Igor Lebedev called for the boycott of the Olympic games, as the IOC decision was a humiliation of the country. “Someone may not like the word “boycott”. But we have to outdo the International Olympic Committee. Without Russia, this is not the Olympics, because Russia is one of the main contenders for medals in any sport. The flag is something for which the athlete goes to fight for the gold medal,” — said Lebedev.
Unacceptable called the speech without the national flag and the Vice-speaker of the state Duma Pyotr Tolstoy, who believes that it is impossible to conduct a dialogue on the requirements of “repent”. First Deputy head of the faction “Fair Russia” in the Duma Mikhail Emelyanov also said that Russia can not participate in the Olympics on the conditions imposed by the IOC, as they are offensive. The first Deputy head of the Federation Council Committee on defense and security Franz Klintsevich believes that the great sports power ought not to go to the competition “incognito”.
At the same time, the majority of current and former athletes believe that to compete at the Olympics, even under a neutral flag, because the audience will still know that they face athletes from Russia, and each of their victory will be the more valuable.
For example, one of the leaders on our hockey team Ilya Kovalchuk urged not to boycott the Olympics, as the refusal to participate is equivalent to defeat. He promised to do everything in order to still represent our country at competitions and in case of victory to sing the Russian national anthem by the players.
The President of the Federation Luge of Russia (fssr) Natalia Gart believes that it is not necessary to make any hasty decisions. “It is necessary to weigh everything. And to understand what is beneficial for our country. Whether it’s to humiliate the country, if you win “athletes from Russia”? It will be clear that the country is raising them… it is a merit of the country and the state”, — said Natalia.
Former tennis player Yevgeny Kafelnikov believes that athletes should be allowed to go to the Olympics. Our athletes one hundred percent need to go to the Games-2018. Even if the President of Russia Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin said that all Olympic athletes should not participate, I would still go. I would not listen to the President. The Olympics — more than the President,” said Kafelnikov.
The President himself has not yet commented officially on the issue of the Olympics, although it’s quite possible he’ll do it on Wednesday, December 6, during another day of the all-Russian forum of volunteers. Earlier in October Vladimir Putin will receive the national team or the performance of the Russian athletes under a neutral flag called a humiliation for the country.
On the other hand, December 4, before the verdict of the IOC Executive Board, the press Secretary of the President Dmitry Peskov said that the boycott of the Olympics, the Kremlin has not yet discussed, although the authorities continue to disagree with many decisions taken by international sports organisations. “We are against unproven infringement of the rights of our athletes. But at the same time, Russia remains committed to the ideals of Olympism. This was stated by President Putin, and it’s his decision,” — said Peskov.
The President of the IOC Richard Bach believes that the boycott of Russia in General there is no reason that every “clean” athletes like allowed part, and nothing to complain about. “The Olympic boycott never led to any results. I see no reason to boycott from Russian athletes, because we allow clean athletes to participate,” said Bach, adding that they should be an important part of building the future of Russian sport without doping.
The head of the Russian Olympic Committee Alexander Zhukov, the IOC suspended, said that the decision about the participation of Russian athletes under a neutral flag will be made at the Olympic Assembly, which will take place on 12 December. It will involve the national team, heads of federations and coaches.
According to Zhukov, the IOC promises to remove all restrictions from the Olympic Committee of Russia and to stop the sanctions and investigation against Russian athletes, if the games in Pyeongchang will be held without violations. Perhaps there is a certain logic in the fact that, with clenched teeth, to move shame, if then the Olympians will be left alone. But after all that has happened over the past few years, such promises are hard to believe.
The problem of the boycott is that, no matter how beautiful it may seem to some people this gesture, he can inflict a huge blow not only for the IOC or the Olympic movement as a whole, but primarily on Russian athletes. As told to world champion in athletics Yolanda Chan, calls for a boycott of the Games according to the Olympic Charter may result in suspension of the team for the next two Olympic cycles. Thus, the official refusal from participation in the competition will enable the international functionaries just like that, without any doping charges, suspend the Russian team from the two Contests.
You can, of course, to declare that the state’s prestige is more important than sports, but the sport of high achievements — is one of the landmarks of the state, not coincidentally, our country invests a lot of money. However, in addition to the official boycott is there another way to answer the IOC, depriving our athletes of the right to participate in the Olympics. It is the refusal of broadcasting the competition in Russia.
As you know, the international Olympic Committee exists largely due to sponsorship money and funds derived from the sale of rights for TV broadcasting. Officially, the IOC does not disclose these figures, but experts say that we are talking about billions of dollars. Russian advertising market — a tidbit for such multinationals as Coca-Cola, visa, McDonalds, Procter&Gamble and others.
The rejection of broadcasting in Russia, undoubtedly, will displease sponsors, the more contracts they enter into directly with the IOC for several months before the event, and most likely already transferred the necessary funds into the Committee account. In case of refusal of the broadcasts in Russia, the IOC will have to deal with angry investors. And any attempt of the Committee to appeal to our Olympic leadership will be in vain — the IOC because he removed the control link from to Vitaly Mutko, Alexander Zhukov. To complain, in fact, no one.
Initially show the competition in Pyeongchang planned three Russian TV channels — “First”, “Russia 1” (included in RTR) and “Match TV” (enters in “Gazprom-media”). In mid-November, the media reported that in the case of non-admission team they can opt out of the broadcasts, not only for political reasons. Just without the athletes interest in the competition among the population will fall, and with them the TV ratings. It makes no sense to pay for the show the competition that it is not possible to earn on advertising.
Even TV presenter Vladimir Pozner called the move justified. “Anyway, television is a commercial enterprise. When the Americans boycotted our Olympics 1980 in Moscow, the TV channels in the US are not shown. Although they are not public, but private. Decided, why should they spend money when no one’s watching without American athletes. This is a normal reaction. This is a really expensive event, you have to pay big money for the right to show,” said Posner.
But the partial admission of athletes is another matter. The audience, by contrast, may want to see if the few Russian athletes to defend the honor of the country. And here it is a question whether they want channels to risk their jobs for the sake of a political gesture.
In addition, as told to the blogger and Creator of the Television sport Ilya Firsov, broadcasting rights already acquired by the Agency Telesport, and in agreement with the IOC Russia has to provide 100 hours of the winter Olympics.
“In case of refusal to broadcast the Agency will have to pay penalties, which will appoint the IOC. Most likely, the “Match TV” broadcast will be anyway — biathlon collects the ratings, even if Russian athletes don’t participate, this is a very popular sport now,” — said the expert.
Although the penalties can be much smaller than the sponsor’s losses. In late November, the European broadcasting Union (EBU) has recognized that the failure of the Russian broadcasts will affect the IOC.
“The Russian market is certainly essential for sports industry of Europe. Blackout of the Olympic games in 2018 will definitely affect the promotion of the IOC and the expectations of its sponsors, which can count, at least, the right of first negotiation for the territory” — quoted by the media representative broadcasting Union Claire Rainford.
After the promulgation of the decision of the IOC in a press-service VGTRK has confirmed that no Russian team they broadcast the competitions will not be, but what about the participation of athletes under a neutral flag position is not specified.
“They will compete under a neutral flag or not is a decision taken not by us. But without the Russian national team we the Olympics are not broadcast”, — reported in the holding.
So now everything depends on the decision at the highest level. On 8 December the State Duma will consider a draft statement of Commerce in connection with the International Olympic Committee’s decision on non-admission of the Russian team. On the one hand, to meet the IOC and the organizers of the anti-Russian campaign in sports must, otherwise there is no guarantee that such incidents will not be repeated in the future in any event. On the other, I wish this answer is not struck, first of all, Russian athletes and sports.
Well-known Russian journalist of TV channel “Russia-1” and radio “Vesti FM” Vladimir Solovyov believes that instead of searching for the answer after the fact, the journalist advises to fundamentally revise Russia’s relations with international sports organizations.
Even if we don’t show the Olympics, the volume of the advertising market in Russia, unfortunately, is not so significant to shake the industry. Another question. There are sports channels, for example, “Match TV”, which, most likely, will broadcast the Olympics, and there are great channels like our RTR, which in terms of ratings makes no sense to show the competition where not a part of our athletes.
As practice shows, our people are not too keen on watching many sports, if there are no Russian athletes. Even from a business perspective not the right decision — to show the competition our athletes. Television time is expensive, and the numbers of the rating would be not impressive. So do not be surprised if the translation will remain exclusively on the sports channels.
Another situation, if in the competition will participate our athletes in such important tournaments like hockey. As I understand it, the position of the International ice hockey Federation is fundamentally different from the IOC, they were and still are on our side and still not in a hurry with an official statement. They are trying to make sense of what happened.
“SP”: — so much sense to boycott the Olympics or there is no broadcast?
— In General, what would we now do, is, alas, waving fists after a fight. Instead, you need to understand how we ended up in this position. Came in a completely incomprehensible system of relations with international organizations and not responded harshly and directly, as soon as I felt that our start to press.
I believe that all those who have developed a “reconciliation plan”, the plan conditional Mutko, it is necessary to write a statement of resignation, because not all of them can be dismissed, as not all of them are government officials. And then we will have a completely different way to shape our state policy in the field of sports, both domestically and in international sports organizations.
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