The Paralympics open today (Getty Images)
(ATR) The IOC tells Around the Rings
that Thomas Bach will not attend any of the Rio Paralympics due to “long-standing engagements” elsewhere.
The IOC leader had already announced that he would miss Wednesday’s opening ceremony to attend the state funeral of former West Germany president Walter Scheel.
learned today that Bach has no plans to return to Brazil to show his support for the Paralympics.
“The IOC president had long standing plans to attend only the opening ceremony and the first day of competition,” IOC spokeswoman Emmanuelle Moreau told ATR
“He cannot visit the Paralympic Games at a later point since he has already long-standing engagements for the duration of the Games.”
The IOC did not respond to questions querying the nature of these commitments.
After the International Paralympic Committee’s blanket ban on Russia from the Rio Games, Bach’s absence from the 11-day event may be seen as a snub to the IPC – perhaps a sign of deteriorating relations between the two bodies. The IOC was opposed to a complete ban on Russia. It decided against suspending the country entirely from the Rio Olympics.
The IPC maintains that relations have not been damaged, despite the clash of views on Russia in the wake of the McLaren report exposing state-sponsored doping.
“We fully understand that he cannot reschedule other long-standing engagements to attend the Games here at a later date,” IPC spokesman Craig Spence told ATR
“The IOC is the IPC’s number one strategic partner and we thank them, and president Bach, for their continued support.”
The IOC president’s no-show in Brazil comes amid calls by Rio police to speak with Bach about the Olympic ticketing scandal. On Tuesday, Patrick Hickey was formally charged with selling tickets for the purpose of touting, false advertising, fraud, money laundering and tax evasion. Kevin Mallon, an executive for THG, was charged alongside Hickey.
Bach’s decision not to return to Brazil also comes two months after the IOC and IPC inked a new memorandum of understanding.
According to an IOC release in June, the agreement running through 2032 was designed to help “enhance the Paralympic brand” and “deepening existing cooperation”. It was also aimed at “ensuring the financial stability and long-term viability of the IPC, the Paralympic Games and the Paralympic Movement”.
Reported by Mark Bisson
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