Alisher Usmanov has penned a letter to the International Olympic Committee in an attempt to convince them to allow the Russian flag and national anthem at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea next year.
This week, it was announced by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that Russia won’t be allowed to fly their flag or have their national anthem played at February 2018’s Winter Olympics. The ban is punishment for the Russian athletes who previously tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
Usmanov, who owns 30% of Arsenal, believes it’s unfair that the Russian athletes who were clean are being tarred with the same brush.
“I am writing this letter not only as the President of the International Fencing Federation but primarily as a citizen of Russia, and someone for whom serving Olympic ideals has become one of the most important purposes of life,” Usmanov wrote in his rather dramatic letter.
“The whole world of sport and the entire Olympic family were waiting for the decision of the IOC. All have been eagerly anticipating fairness, justice and clarity. The decision answered all the questions but one – whether the Olympic Themis is fair.
“Even though discrimination in any shape or form contradicts the principles of the Olympic Movement, the IOC’s decision certainly does put clean Russian athletes on an uneven playing field with athletes from other countries. Having gone through purgatory of the Olympic qualifications clean Russian athletes will (a) have to wait for months for the final decisions by the special commission of the IOC, (b) be deprived of the customary support of the NOC of Russia, and (c) most importantly be denied the right to see their national flag and hear their national anthem.
“One of the principles of Roman law states: “Nullem crimen, nullen poena sine culpa.” (“No guilt, no punishment”). The innocent shall not be punished and put down to knees. This approach violates the basic human rights and undermines the trust in law and justice. Athletes dedicate their rather short life in sport for this one moment when they can see their country’s flag in the sky and hear the sound of their national anthem. This is the pinnacle of their glory, their personal conquest of Everest.
“I ask the members of the IOC Executive Committee to balance on the scales of Themis the necessity to punish the guilty with the aspirations of clean Russian athletes and their equal rights as members of the Olympic family.
“Let us give the right at least to the winners of the 2018 Olympics to reach the summit of their dream and see the flag of their motherland in Pyeongchang’s sky.”
The British Olympic Association support the ban. Although there’s obviously been an uproar from Russia.
Meanwhile, Usmanov’s niece, Ganya Usmanova, married 29-year-old tennis star Vazha Uzakov recently in a rather extravagant ceremony at the Uzekspocentre Exhibition Centre.
The 24-year-old also had a Sex and the City-themed hen party.
The Instagram influencer’s big day, held in Tashkent, was nothing short of stunning and looked like something out of a fairy tale.
They had a backdrop of a massive white castle, crystals hanging from the ceiling, light shows and tonnes of flowers.
Ganya’s wedding dress also had a train bigger than my future.
I guess when your uncle’s a billionaire, who’s willing to pay for what you want, you really can make your dreams come true.
Be right back, just checking my family tree.