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IOC recommends Russian and Belarusian particular person athletes compete as neutrals

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Team ROC carry flags during the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics
Russian athletes had been permitted to compete on the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics – which befell previous to the invasion of Ukraine – beneath a impartial flag

The Worldwide Olympic Committee has beneficial that Russian and Belarusian athletes are allowed to compete beneath a impartial flag – however has but to decide on Paris 2024.

This advice solely extends to particular person athletes, not groups.

The IOC’s government board has additionally advised worldwide federations and occasion organisers that athletes and assist personnel who actively assist the battle in Ukraine, or who’re contracted to the army, shouldn’t be permitted to compete.

Concerning subsequent 12 months’s Olympics in Paris and the Milan-Cortina Winter Olympics in 2026, the IOC mentioned it will take a call “on the acceptable time”.

It added it will “intently monitor the complete implementation” of its suggestions, with compliance being an “essential issue” in its future resolution on the upcoming summer season and winter Video games.

“Participation of athletes with Russian and Belarusian passports in worldwide competitions works,” mentioned IOC president Thomas Bach.

“We see this virtually each day in a variety of sports activities, most prominently in tennis but additionally in biking, in some desk tennis competitions.

“We see it in ice hockey, handball, we see it in soccer and in different leagues in america but additionally in Europe and we additionally see it in different continents.

“In none of those competitors safety incidents have been occurring.”

On Tuesday the IOC famous that in its deliberations the “70 different ongoing armed conflicts and wars” globally had been thought of, including that the nationwide Olympic committees in these affected areas weren’t requesting any exclusion of athletes.

On Friday, Ukraine’s sports activities minister Vadym Guttsait accused the IOC of “double requirements” over its suggestion that Russian and Belarusian athletes might compete at Paris 2024.

The IOC’s sanctions on Russia and its ally Belarus – applied following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 – “stay firmly in place”.

As a part of these sanctions, no worldwide sporting occasions will be organised in both of the nations, whereas their flags, nationwide anthems or another nationwide image should not be used.

The IOC reiterated its condemnation of Russia’s invasion, and has tripled its solidarity fund for Ukraine’s nationwide Olympic committee to £6.1m.

Nonetheless, it has additionally reiterated its “agency rejection of any political interference within the autonomous authority of sports activities organisations to determine on participation of their competitions”.

This month, it mentioned the UK authorities ought to “respect the autonomy of sport” after it requested sponsors to assist a ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes at Paris 2024.

UK Tradition Secretary Lucy Frazer wrote a letter to UK chief executives of the IOC’s 13 worldwide companions saying the regimes “should not be allowed to make use of sport for his or her propaganda functions”.

“Sports activities organisations should have the only accountability to determine which athletes can participate in worldwide competitions based mostly on their sporting deserves and never on political grounds or due to their passports,” mentioned the IOC on Tuesday.

Ukraine has threatened to boycott the Paris Video games if a ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes just isn’t upheld.

A number of nations – together with Nice Britain – boycotted this month’s Ladies’s World Boxing Championships after Russian and Belarusian athletes had been allowed to compete beneath their international locations’ flags, whereas on Tuesday more than 300 international fencersexternal-link signed an open letter calling for the ban to be upheld and for the “notion of neutrality” to be rejected.

The IOC’s suggestions had been quickly criticised from each side, with Poland’s deputy international minister Piotr Wawrzyk calling a “day of disgrace” for the organisation.

Czech international minister Jan Lipavsky mentioned: “We should not shut our eyes to actuality. Russian sport is centrally managed by the Kremlin. The Russian regime doesn’t know what truthful play is.

“Its athletes don’t belong within the Olympic Video games.”

Stanislav Pozdnyakov, the president of the Russian Olympic Committee, mentioned the suggestions had been “completely unacceptable”.

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