WOF statement on the Russia-Ukraine conflict1 February 2023
Written by W.O.F. Head council
The World Othello Federation (WOF), along with other mind sports organsations*, follows the recommendations from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on international political affairs. The IOC has passed a resolution urging all International Federations to relocate or cancel their events currently planned in Russia or Belarus.
The WOF has no plans to stage any events in either country and urges all regional associations/federations and all WOF association members to relocate or cancel any events currently planned in Russia or Belarus.
In addition, until further notice, no Russian or Belarussian flags will be displayed at events under WOF´s auspices.
The Russian or Belarussian players participating in WOF events will have the opportunity to play as independent under the WOF flag.
WOF confederations and WOF member associations & clubs are urged to adopt a similar policy.
WOF following the IOC statement 25th january 2023.
1. With regard to the sanctions, participants in each of the consultation calls unanimously reaffirmed and called for a reinforcement of the sanctions already in place:
- No international sports events being organised or supported by an IF or NOC in Russia or Belarus.
- No flag, anthem, colours or any other identifications whatsoever of these countries being displayed at any sports event or meeting, including the entire venue.
- No Russian and Belarusian Government or State official should be invited to or accredited for any international sports event or meeting.
2. With regard to the solidarity with Ukrainian athletes and the Ukrainian Olympic community, there was also unanimous support to:
- Continue and even strengthen the full and unwavering commitment to solidarity with the Ukrainian athletes and the Ukrainian Olympic community in order to have a strong team from the NOC of Ukraine at the Olympic Games Paris 2024 and the Olympic Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026.
- Encourage all IFs, NOCs and sports event organisers to undertake all possible efforts to facilitate the training, preparation and participation of Ukrainian athletes in international sports events.
3. With regard to the individual athletes with Russian or Belarusian passports, the vast majority of the participants in each of the consultation calls expressed the following:
- Strong commitment to the unifying mission of the Olympic Movement, requesting and encouraging it to live up to this unifying mission, particularly in these times of division, confrontation and war.
- Respect the rights of all athletes to be treated without any discrimination, in accordance with the Olympic Charter. Governments must not decide which athletes can participate in which competition and which athletes cannot.
- No athlete should be prevented from competing just because of their passport.
- A pathway for athletes’ participation in competition under strict conditions should therefore be further explored.
- Such strict conditions being:
- athletes would participate in competitions as “neutral athletes” and in no way represent their state or any other organisation in their country, as is already happening in professional leagues, particularly in Europe, the United States and Canada, and in some individual professional sports.
- only athletes who fully respect the Olympic Charter would participate. This means in particular: first, only those who have not acted against the peace mission of the IOC by actively supporting the war in Ukraine could compete. Second, only athletes who fully comply with the World Anti-Doping Code and all relevant anti-doping rules and regulations would be eligible. There must be individual checks carried out for all entered athletes.
- In the event of any athlete failing to respect the eligibility criteria or failing to respect the strict participation conditions as set out above, the IF and/or the sports event organiser concerned should immediately remove them from the competition, suspend them from further competitions and report the incident to the IOC for its consideration for further measures and sanctions.
- Welcomed and appreciated the offer from the Olympic Council of Asia to give these athletes access to Asian competitions
The vast majority in each of the consultation meetings requested the IOC to continue the exploration of the above-mentioned concept by way of bilateral consultation, with each International Federation being the sole authority for its international competitions.