Oleg Matytsin says Russian athletes will get necessary protection in some areas, but shouldn’t get special status
Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin said certain categories of athletes in the country would be exempt from the ongoing partial military mobilization, but added that sport should not see itself as “separate” from the rest of society.
“Sport cannot be seen as a separate community that should enjoy some sort of exclusive privileges,” Matytsin told the “Russia – A Sporting Power” forum in the city of Kemerovo on Thursday, according to TASS.
“We see that our athletes from previous years, and I hope during this period, are patriotic.
“It was announced several times at the start of the special military operation, they supported the president and expressed an absolutely unequivocal opinion that sport is one family.
“All the problems, difficulties and tasks that the state is solving, sport will solve them together with everyone”, added the Minister.
Since Russian President Vladimir Putin last week announced a partial mobilization in a bid to call up 300,000 reservists, there have been reports of athletes in many sports receiving draft call-ups.
Prominent sports commentator Dmitry Guberniev claimed on Wednesday that this number included Russian biathletes who had “has been on the podium of the biggest world competitions, including the world championships.
Matytsin said steps are being taken to ensure athletes in certain categories are not drafted, but reiterated that the sport should not take advantage “exclusivity”.
“I cannot answer unequivocally now on the [exemption system]”, said Matytsin.
“There won’t and shouldn’t be any exclusivity. Yes, we understand that athletes and coaches are a ‘golden fund’, especially those preparing for the Olympics and members of national teams.
“Some protective measures for certain categories will eventually be postponed while we are in discussion with the government.
“I hope that the sports system will continue to develop actively despite the situation,” Matytsin added.
The Sports Minister’s remarks echo those of the President of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), Stanislav Pozdnyakov, who said last week that the athletes had a “honorable duty” serve their country, like other citizens.