International Olympic Committee lifts ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes |  Tweet

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has lifted the ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes, sanctioned since the Russian military invasion of Ukraine, and has recommended that the federations authorize their participation in international competitions as “individual neutral athletes”, In addition to allowing them to compete in the qualification process for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games and the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games, although without guaranteeing their presence in those appointments.

This way, the IOC Executive Board respond to the request of the 11th Olympic Summit, which met on December 9, after consultations with members of the IOC, National Olympic Committees (NOCs), federations and athlete representatives.

However, he ensures that the participation of athletes with a Russian or Belarusian passport at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games and at the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Olympic Games “It was not considered either in the consultations or in your deliberations today.”

“The IOC expressly reserves the right to decide on their participation at the appropriate time.even if they were deemed to have qualified in accordance with the classification criteria established by their respective international federations,” he continued in his statement.

In addition, he reiterated that the Olympic Games “cannot prevent wars and conflicts” nor “address all political and social challenges”.

The Olympic Games can serve as an example for a world where everyone abides by the same rules and respects each other. They can inspire us to solve problems by building bridges, leading to a better understanding between people. They can open the door to dialogue and peacebuilding in a way that exclusion and division cannot.

Nonetheless, the IOC insisted on its condemnation “of the Russian invasion of Ukraine”, what is “a flagrant violation of the Olympic truce”, hence maintains its sanctions on the governments of Russia and Belarusincluding not organize international sporting events in any of the two countries; not display any flag, anthem or other national symbol in any international competition; and not invite any politician or leader of the two countries to any international sporting event.

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About Russian or Belarusian athletes, the IOC leaves the decision to readmit them “at the discretion of the federations”, recommending that they return to competition by participating “as individual neutral athletes”, never as a team. In addition, he assured that the athletes who “actively support the war” will not be able to compete, as neither those who are employed by the Russian or Belarusian armed forces or national security agencies.

In this sense, he stressed to the federations that they consider the participation of these “based on their sporting merits and not for political reasons or for their passports”, remembering that there are currently other 70 armed conflicts and wars in the world and that “no one is requesting the exclusion” of athletes from those countries for this reason.

Finally, he reiterated his support for Ukrainian athletes, for those who have endowed a Solidarity Fund of up to 7.5 million dollars.

(With information from Europe Press)

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