Posted: 29.03.2023 12:24:00

IOC recommends how Russian, Belarusian athletes can return as neutrals

The Executive Committee of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has recommended the return of Russian and Belarusian athletes to international sporting events as neutrals – as stated by IOC President Thomas Bach during a press conference following the results of the first day of the meeting in Lausanne


“International sports competitions must be organised in the spirit of peace and tolerance and without discrimination. Sanctions cannot be applied solely on the basis of a passport or belonging to a particular nation. The IOC Executive Board urges international organisations that Russian and Belarusian athletes should compete as individual neutral athletes,” TASS quotes Thomas Bach.

At a press conference, the Head of the IOC outlined the conditions for the return of athletes. The recommendations, which are planned to be sent to international federations and organisers of international competitions, say that athletes with Russian and Belarusian passports should compete only as individual neutral athletes; combined teams of athletes with Russian and Belarusian passports cannot be represented as participants in international competitions. Athletes who actively support the conflict in Ukraine or are contracted to the military or national security agencies cannot compete in international competitions (the same recommendation applies to personnel). Neutral athletes, like any other athlete, must comply with all anti-doping requirements.

The question of the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the Olympic Games remains open. Bach explained, “The IOC Executive Board has not set a clear timeframe for a decision on the 2024 and 2026 Olympics. Nobody knows what will happen tomorrow or nine months from now. I don’t have an answer when the right time comes. We must monitor the situation.”