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Olympics news website Insidethegames says 'banned' from Paris 2024

By RFI
Sports News AP - Christophe Ena
TUE, 18 JUN 2024 LISTEN
AP - Christophe Ena

Olympics news website Insidethegames.biz, which was acquired by a Russian-run fund, says it has been effectively "banned" from the Paris Olympics after its accreditation requests were turned down.

The sports website, previously based in England and run by British sports journalist Duncan Mackay for 18 years until last October, was considered an influential source of news on the Olympic movement.

It was sold last October to new owners, Vox Europe Investment Holding, an investment fund with addresses in Britain and Hungary whose ultimate owners remain unknown.

"We feel like we are banned by theIOC (the International Olympic Committee)," chief operating officer for the site, Oleg Denisov, told French news agency AFP on Monday.

"We were thinking of sending four to five journalists with a photographer (to Paris 2024) because the Olympics is the main theme of Insidethegames," Denisov added.

The IOC confirmed to AFP that "they have not been allocated any accreditation" for the 26 July - 11 August Paris Games.

"We have nothing to add," it continued.

IOC request

Denisov said the website had not complied with an IOC request to identify the investors behind the Insidethegames takeover, which reportedly included Umar Kremlev, a Russian oligarch who is head of the International Boxing Association (IBA).

"There were only directors that were Russians. The owners I am not sure who they are," added Denisov, who is also Russian.

When asked about Kremlev, he replied: "I believe this is speculation. I don't know this information."

The IOC has been in conflict with Moscow for many years over Russian state-backed doping and President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

The Russian team has been banned from Paris 2024, with only a handful of athletes being allowed to compete as neutrals.

Kremlev's International Boxing Association (IBA) was also expelled from the Olympic movement in 2023 because of concerns about its "integrity and transparency".

Denisov said that Insidethegames had recently changed hands again, with Vox Europe selling the website to a company called ITG Media DMCC, which is based in Dubai.

"There's no Russian ownership (in ITG)," he said, while adding: "The owners of this company prefer to be anonymous as we had so much pressure in November and December from the IOC."

Under Mackay, Insidethegames produced several scoops, most significantly revealing the doping case concerning Russian teenage skater Kamila Valieva during the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

(with AFP)

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