FIS to discuss Russian and Belarussian athletes to events at next month’s council meeting

Secretary General, Michel Vion, has said that athletes could return to FIS competitions as early as December

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03.12.2021, Lillehammer, Norway (NOR):
Annika Malacinski (USA) - FIS world cup nordic combined women, individual gundersen HS98/5km, Lillehammer (NOR). www.nordicfocus.com. © Thibaut/NordicFocus. Every downloaded picture is fee-liable.
03.12.2021, Lillehammer, Norway (NOR): Annika Malacinski (USA) - FIS world cup nordic combined women, individual gundersen HS98/5km, Lillehammer (NOR). www.nordicfocus.com. © Thibaut/NordicFocus. Every downloaded picture is fee-liable.

With the competitive ski season getting ready to kick off for 2022, The International Ski and Snowboard Federation (FIS) Council has a big decision to make regarding Russian and Belarussian athletes in the events. The council is set to meet in October and will begin the consideration of allowing those athletes the chance to return to competition as early as December.

Secretary General Michel Vion shared the decision “could be quick” and that “maybe it’s possible in December, then both nations - of course without a national flag and anthem - could possibly also take part in the World Championships.”

The first event on the schedule for 2022 is the Alpine Ski World Cup season which begins on October 22 followed by the Cross-Country Ski World Cup which begins at the end of November around the same time the Nordic Combined World Cup will take place. FIS World Championships are scheduled for February and March of 2023 so there is a real possibility for athletes from the countries in question to participate unattached.

2022 Beijing Olympics - Nordic Combined - Team Gundersen Large Hill/4x5km, Cross-Country - National Cross-Country Centre, Zhangjiakou, China - February 17, 2022. Vinzenz Geiger of Germany and Ryota Yamamoto of Japan in action. REUTERS/Hannah Mckay
2022 Beijing Olympics - Nordic Combined - Team Gundersen Large Hill/4x5km, Cross-Country - National Cross-Country Centre, Zhangjiakou, China - February 17, 2022. Vinzenz Geiger of Germany and Ryota Yamamoto of Japan in action. REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

Russia and Belarus have traditionally been heavily involved in FIS events and winter sports in general, but the invasion of Ukraine has been largely frowned upon by the majority of the world leading to the decision of the IOC to punish the athletes representing the nation. There have been mixed reviews in the athletic world as to whether or not the athletes should be banned due to their president’s political moves, but the IOC has stood behind its decision to continue excluding them from competition.

While the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and many other Olympic committees and organizations still have bans on Russian athletes, Belarussian athlete bans are beginning to lift. United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee chair Susanne Lyons shared last week the IOC is discussing “whether there is a pathway” for the return of Russian athletes to international sport.

The FIS has supported the IOC’s ban over the last seven months, but will revisit the decision. “This will be an agenda point that the FIS Council will discuss at its next meeting in late October,” FIS shared with a news outlet. “If there are any decisions made on the matter by other sport governing bodies, such as the IOC, the FIS Council will take this into consideration during its discussions.”