The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that athletes from Russia and Belarus will be able to participate in the next Paris 2024 Olympic Games, under the condition of neutrality and only individually.
The announcement came after the request of the International Federations at the last Olympic Summit, supported by the Association of National Olympic Committees (ACNO) and the Continental Associations of National Olympic Committees (CONs), for the IOC to issue the situation as soon as possible. The body chaired by Sebastian Bach, moreover, had received from the Athletes’ Commission the will of the majority of athletes not to punish athletes for the actions of their governments.
The IOC specified what the conditions will be:
- Teams of athletes with Russian or Belarusian passports will not be considered.
- Athletes who actively support the war will not be eligible to participate or compete. Support personnel who actively support the war will not be brought in.
- Athletes hired by Russian or Belarusian military or national security agencies will not be eligible to register or compete. Support personnel hired by Russian or Belarusian military or national security agencies will not be admitted.
- Any Individual Neutral Athlete, like all other participating athletes, must comply with all the anti-doping requirements that apply in the run-up to and during the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, and in particular those established in the FI anti-doping rules.
- At the Olympic Games in Paris 2024, no flag, anthem, color or any other identification of Russia or Belarus will be displayed and no Russian or Belarusian government or state official will be invited or accredited to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Russia and Ukraine, against the decision taken by the International Olympic Committee
“The conditions are discriminatory and go against sporting principles. They harm the Olympic Games themselves and not Russian sports. This approach is absolutely unacceptable,” Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsine was quoted as saying by the state news agency TASS. And he said: “They will probably participate. We always support our people, they are our athletes, the members of our sports family”.
For his part, Dmytro Kuleba, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, said: “Belarusian athletes, and especially Russian athletes, often represent sports organizations related to the armed forces of the Russian Federation. Some of them are in active military service, others wear symbols of the Russian Federation’s armed aggression against Ukraine on their sports uniforms. The IOC plans to allow athletes to go up to the stadiums who not only sympathize with the murders of Ukrainian women and children, but who are also likely to take a direct part in these terrible crimes.”
So far, only 11 athletes are qualified for Paris 2024: eight Russians and three Belarusians. In athletics, there will be no competitors from these two countries because Sebastian Coe, president of World Athletics, announced that the sanction imposed since the invasion of Ukraine will be maintained.