International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach hit back Thursday at European governments who have criticized the peak sporting body for seeking to readmit Russian and Belarusian athletes to competition, saying their "deplorable" stance ignores other nations' concerns about "double standards."
The IOC Executive Board on Tuesday recommended admitting athletes from Russia and Belarus to international events, including next year's Paris Olympics, as neutral competitors, provided they do not voice support for the invasion of Ukraine or have military ties.
But some European governments said the measures were insufficient and urged an outright ban on athletes from the two countries, prompting a stern response from Bach at the conclusion of the Executive Board meeting in Lausanne.
"It is deplorable to see that some governments do not want to respect the majority within the Olympic movement and all stakeholders, nor the autonomy of sport which they are appraising and requesting from other countries in countless speeches, U.N. resolutions, European Union declarations and at every other opportunity," Bach said in his press conference.
"It is deplorable that these governments do not address the question of double standards with which we have been confronted in our consultations."
"We have not seen a single comment on their attitude on the participation of athletes whose countries are involved in the other 70 wars and armed conflict in the world."
Bach indicated a decision would be made on Russian and Belarusian athletes less than a year before the July 26, 2024, opening of the Paris Games.
The IOC earlier this month criticized the British government after it wrote to major Olympic sponsors urging them to support a ban on both countries' athletes.
Ukraine, the Czech Republic and Poland are among the countries voicing opposition to any move by the IOC to alter its position outlined in February 2022 against participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes.