The Executive of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommended on Tuesday to international federations and organizers of sports competitions to authorize athletes "with Russian and Belarusian passports" to participate in them "individually and as neutrals."

On the other hand, the admission of the national teams of these two countries is not recommended, added the president of the IOC, the German Thomas Bach, who read an institutional statement after a meeting of the Executive in Lausanne (Switzerland).

The leader stressed that in no case has the participation of Russians and Belarusians been considered yet to participate in the Paris Games.

On admission to those Games, and also to the Milan-Cortina Winter Games in 2026, the Olympic committee will make the decision "in due course, at its sole discretion and without being bound by the previous results of the Olympic qualification competitions."

No to the military

Among the conditions to authorize the return to competitions of "athletes with Russian or Belarusian passports", circumlocution used by the IOC since last December to refer to athletes from those countries, Bach mentioned that they cannot "have actively supported the war", nor be members of the army or security agencies of their countries.

The same requirements must be met by all members of the athlete support staff, such as coaches or technicians.

The ban on organizing competitions on Russian or Belarusian territory remains in force.

The condition of neutrality imposed by the IOC on individual athletes implies the obligation to compete without the official symbols (flag, anthem, kit...) of the invading country of Ukraine and its ally.

Bach recalled that it was "the Olympic Summit that met in December that asked the IOC to explore a path for the return as neutral individuals" of Russians and Belarusians.

The Olympic Summit is a consultative forum convened periodically by the IOC itself, with a majority of participants from the IOC itself.

"The vast majority" of sport

"The Executive studied this requirement today," added the president, who reiterated the Olympic Movement's calls for peace, the condemnations of the invasion of Ukraine, the commitment to the athletes of this country and "the firm rejection of any political interference in participation in competitions."

From its consultations over the past four months, the IOC got the impression that "the vast majority" of the sport wants "an open path" for the participation of Russians and Belarusians.

"We have to fulfill our mission and the Olympic Charter speaks of the autonomy of sport," Bach said.

Athletes from Russia and Belarus and the national teams representing their countries have not participated in international competitions since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, with a few exceptions such as professional tennis circuits.

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