- 21 Apr 2015
- IOC News
IOC President Bach and Ukrainian President Poroshenko agree on uniting role of sport
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach today welcomed Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko to the Olympic Museum in Lausanne. The Ukrainian President was accompanied by the Minister of Foreign affairs, and 1st Vice Prime Minister, where the pair discussed sport as a means to promote education, health, development peace and reconciliation.
Athletes’ welfare was at the heart of their meeting as they discussed an IOC initiative that has helped Ukrainian athletes in areas affected by civil strife. The IOC established an emergency fund of USD 300,000 last year to be used for the benefit of the Ukrainian athletes, through the NOC of Ukraine, for training and competition purposes. The Ukrainian President praised the initiative, which has seen the relocation of 30 athletes currently being supported by this programme to more peaceful areas of the country to carry on their training.
President Bach reiterated that the role of sport was to bring people together. The IOC President added that the United Nations (UN)’s resolution on the autonomy of sports explicitly encourages full participation at sporting events, and the conciliative nature of sport. He noted that boycotts are incompatible with this UN request for respect of the values of sport. The Ukrainian President said he was “against sports boycotts.” and also emphasized that “Ukraine is welcoming athletes from all countries”.
The two leaders also discussed the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are being finalized by the United Nations this year, and the IOC President reiterated the need to include sport in the final declaration.
The Ukrainian President described the reform process he was implementing in Ukraine, adding that sport is playing a key role in education, health and social policy. He said it was vital to use the “values of sport in this respect”. The IOC president offered the assistance of the IOC with regards to these programmes.
President Poroshenko invited President Bach to visit Ukraine. The IOC President accepted the invitation.