Olympic sponsors encouraged by the British State to support the continuation of the banning of Russian and Belarusian athletes for the Games to be held in Paris next year.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer He wrote to the UK senior executives of the International Olympic Committee’s 13 partners around the world, including Coca-Cola, Intel, Samsung and Visa, to put pressure on them. IOC To lay out the details around the ‘way’ that will allow Russians and Belarusians to compete impartially.

The IOC’s board recommended last February, immediately after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, that athletes from these two countries be excluded from international sporting events.

But the IOC president Thomas Bach insists these are measures designed to “protect” these athletes, and now tells athletes that they should not be discriminated against because of their passports.

The UK is one of 35 countries, including the US and France, which hosted the Games, which have requested clarity from the IOC on the exact terms of neutrality.

Frazer wrote: “We know that sport and politics are heavily intertwined in Russia and Belarus, and we are adamant that the regimes in Russia and Belarus should not be allowed to use sport for propaganda purposes.

“Unless our concerns and the lack of clarity and concrete detail in a viable ‘neutrality’ model are addressed, we disagree on allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete again.

“Noting the IOC’s declared position that no final decisions have been made, we strongly urged the IOC to consider the questions raised by all countries and reconsider its proposal accordingly.

As an Olympic partner, I welcome your views on this and ask you to join us in pressing the IOC to address the concerns expressed in our statement.”

The UK Government believes the situation in Ukraine has worsened since the IOC took its initial stance to exclude Russia and Belarus, and as long as Russia is president Vladimir Putin If the occupation continues, athletes from those countries should not be allowed to compete.

Bach criticized the government’s intervention in this matter.

Speaking after the IOC board meeting last December, Bach said for the first time that the board was exploring a way for Russian athletes to return: “If this[intervention]continues, then our sports competitions and the international sports system are gone.

“Russia and Belarus today. Tomorrow the next country and then other countries come back with counter-sanctions.

“For our unifying mission, we must work to defend athletes (and) the international sport movement.”