Velimir Petkovic: "It’s embarrassing to read Thomas Bach’s statements. It’s hypocrisy. What applies to athletes from Israel, doesn’t apply to athletes from Russia"

8 January 2024
The head of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach dissembles, when he justifies restrictions regarding Russian and Belarusian athletes. Such opinion was expressed to TASS by the head coach of the men’s handball national team Velimir Petkovic, who is a citizen of Germany, like Bach.
The men’s and women’s handball national teams of Russia were prevented from returning to the international arena since the IOC recommended not to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate in team sports, having made an exception only for representatives of individual disciplines. At the same time Bach has repeatedly stated that the recommendation to permit athletes from both countries in neutral status can be explained by the fact that they shouldn’t "be punished for the actions of their governments". 
In particular, last November the IOC warned against discrimination of athletes amid the conflict in the Gaza Strip: "We adhere to the principle of individual responsibility. Athletes cannot be responsible for the actions of their governments".
 — I read his announcements. What does it mean? It’s hypocrisy. It applies to athletes from Israel, but not to the ones from Russia. I feel embarrassed to read it. He is from my country, I know, he is correct. But what do his words mean? Whom do these words apply to? Definitely not to Russian athletes.
What would I tell him when we meet? The same thing I told you now. But I know it isn’t his opinion. I know it, you know it. I want to attend the European Cup, which will be held in several German cities, and I would be glad to see him. I am completely sincere when I say, that there won’t be any problem with it, — Petkovic said.
Photo: the HFR press service          
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