PtG Article 16.02.2024

IOC member: No Taliban flag at the Olympics in Paris

Kristin Kloster, a Norwegian member of the IOC's executive committee, says 11 athletes from Russia and Belarus so far are qualified for the 2024 Olympics, and that a team of Afghan athletes will compete at the Games without the Taliban flag.

Even though Russia and Belarus are at war with Ukraine, the IOC has allowed qualified athletes from the two warring countries to participate in this summer's Olympic Games in Paris on the condition that the athletes are approved by both their international federations and the IOC.

At the closing session of Play the Game 2024 in Trondheim about the role of Olympic Games and the IOC in major world conflicts, Norwegian IOC Executive Board member Kristin Kloster said that so far six Russians and five Belarusians have qualified for the Games through their federations.

But Kristin Kloster also said that the 11 qualified athletes from the two countries will only be allowed to compete at the Olympics as individual neutral athletes if they also pass the IOC's test of whether they have supported the two countries' war in Ukraine.

Afghan NOC in exile select an Olympic team 

The Norwegian IOC member also said at the conference that the IOC is negotiating with Afghanistan's former National Olympic Committee to select an Afghan team for the Paris Games.

The committee members have been living in exile since August 2021, when the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan and banned Afghan women from playing sports.

When one of Afghanistan's first female Olympic athletes, judoka Friba Rezayee, who attended the conference in Norway, asked whether the Afghan team would march into the Olympic Stadium in Paris under the Taliban flag, Kristin Kloster replied that it would not happen.

At the conference, however, the Norwegian IOC member did not address the status of the IOC's year-long negotiations with the Taliban's national sports leaders in Kabul to lift the regime's religious ban on all women's sports in Afghanistan.

The IOC has turned a blind eye to the Taliban's ban on women's sports for two and a half years, even though the religiously motivated ban is in direct violation of the IOC's rules in the Olympic Charter, which prohibits gender discrimination.

At the IOC Session in Mumbai, India, in October 2023, where IOC members approved the committee's new Olympic human rights strategy, IOC Director James Macleod explained the Olympic double standard in Afghanistan as 'a very complex situation'.

At the same time, Macleod emphasised that there had been 'a tiny bit of progress' in the IOC's negotiations with the Taliban, which made it relevant for the IOC to continue trying to persuade the armed rulers in Kabul to end their years-long religious war against sportswomen in Afghanistan.

Watch the video from the session 'Paris 2024 and future Olympics: Beacons of peace or tokens of war?'

Read more news from Play the Game 2024

Alex Krumer at Play the Game 2024
PtG Article 19.03.2024
Women's football teams should not play in white shorts if they want to win
Karim Zidan at Play the Game 2024
PtG Comment 27.02.2024
From Qatar to Saudi: Soul-searching in sports reporting
Whitney Bragnolo at Play the Game conference
PtG Article 23.02.2024
Sports federations urged to do more to safeguard athletes
Gerke Berenschot at Play the Game conference
PtG Article 22.02.2024
Male athletes could have twice the risk of dying from cardiac issues  compared to men of similar age
Faraz Shahlaei
PtG Article 20.02.2024
The Russian doping scandal has exposed the weaknesses in the international anti-doping structure
Joanna Maranhão and Andrea Florence
PtG Article 19.02.2024
Sports organisations are bad at handling sexual abuse, and athletes risk retaliation for speaking out
Panel on anti-doping
PtG Article 16.02.2024
CEO of USADA: "There is a lot we could do to ease the burden on the athletes"
Zoe Flood
PtG Article 15.02.2024
Betting is a growing problem among the young populations in Africa
Panel and Steve Menary
PtG Article 07.02.2024
In-play bets and live data collection make new sports vulnerable to match-fixing
Travis Tygart
PtG Article 07.02.2024
US anti-doping director: There is an incredible need for an anti-crime agency in sport
PtG Article 07.02.2024
Sporting bodies called out for lack of action on Palestine and Afghan women
Play the Game award winners 2024
PtG Article 07.02.2024
Investigative journalists Grit Hartmann and Nick Harris receive the Play the Game Award 2024
PtG Article 07.02.2024
Making mega-events more sustainable could just end in greenwashing
PtG Article 06.02.2024
The German Bundesliga cut its sustainability requirements by half from 2022 to 2023
Panel on sports journalism
PtG Article 06.02.2024
Investigative sports journalism is struggling on many fronts at the same time
Brian Wesaala
PtG Article 06.02.2024
The Global South could be the key to changing poor sports governance nationally and internationally