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IOC tells athletes not to discriminate

June 14, 2012 at 7:22 AM   |   Comments

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JERUSALEM, June 14 (UPI) -- The International Olympic Committee advises athletes to stay home if they refuse to participate in an event because of fellow athletes' religion or nationality.

"There can be no discrimination for any reason between participants at the Olympic Games. … Refusing to participate in an Olympic event because of a fellow athlete/team's religion or nationality, would not only be unsporting behavior but a serious breach of the IOC's Code of Ethics, the principles of the Olympic Charter and the Athletes Oath. …

"If an athlete/team is unable to come to the Games in spirit of friendship and fair play, then they should stay at home," a statement issued by IOC spokeswoman Emanuelle Moreau said.

The Jerusalem Post said Thursday the warning came shortly after Rachid Hanifi, the president of the Algerian Olympic Committee, said his team may face a state policy forbidding members from competing against Israelis.

"There is an obligation to ask our government if we have to meet Israel in sport. … Our athletes represent the whole country, not just our Olympic committee," Hanifi was quoted as saying.

Israeli athletes have come to expect being boycotted by Arab colleagues from certain countries, specifically Iran, with such incidents occurring in both the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games, the Post said.

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