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International Olympic Committee recommends that Russians and Belarusians compete as neutrals

Tuesday, 28 March 2023, 18:35
International Olympic Committee recommends that Russians and Belarusians compete as neutrals

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has recommended that international sports federations allow athletes from Russia and Belarus to take part in tournaments as neutrals, but has postponed its response concerning their participation in the Olympics.

Source: Suspilne, Ukraine's public broadcaster, citing Thomas Bach, the IOC President, following an IOC Executive Committee meeting

Details: Bach said Russian and Belarusian athletes can compete if they follow certain rules.


They must compete as neutral athletes, while Russian and Belarusian teams will not participate at all. Athletes and staff who actively support the war against Ukraine are also not allowed to take part, and neither are athletes who have signed a contract with the Russian or Belarusian military.

Neutral athletes must meet all the requirements, particularly the anti-doping rules.

Bach stressed that the sanctions against Russia and Belarus, which prohibit them from holding competitions and taking part in international events under their state flags and symbols, must remain in force.

Bach remarked that consideration of the question of whether Russian and Belarusian athletes will be able to participate in the 2024 and 2026 Olympics has been postponed.

He added that the principle of selective suspension will be taken into account when the athletes start competing.

Only athletes who do not actively support Russia’s war against Ukraine can be allowed to compete under the neutral flag. Otherwise their actions would be considered a violation of the Olympic Charter, which must be followed by suspension.

Before the IOC Executive Committee meeting, Ukraine insisted that allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete under the neutral flag "is not a punishment" for them and urged the organisation to reverse this decision. 

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