IOC details advice to let Russia, Belarus athletes return

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Russian athletes were given conditions Tuesday that could lead to their return to international sports events, though the International Olympic Committee said its advice to sporting bodies did not include the 2024 Paris Games.

Though the IOC gave guidance rather than orders to Olympic sports, it still defies repeated calls by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to exclude all Russian athletes and teams while his country is being occupied and attacked.

Athletes from Russia and its military ally Belarus who have actively supported the war in Ukraine, or are “contracted to the military or national security agencies”, should not be cleared to compete as neutral individuals, IOC President Thomas Bach said.

Russia and Belarus teams “cannot be considered” for a return to international competitions, Bach said at a news conference after a meeting of the executive board he chairs.

Team events such as relays or mixed doubles or team all-around in gymnastics should also be off-limits, the IOC said in a document explaining its guidance

The IOC’s recommendations to the governing bodies of Olympic sports “do not concern” the Paris Games that opens in 16 months’ time.

PHOTOS: IOC details advice to let Russia, Belarus athletes return

“The IOC will take this decision at the appropriate time at its full discretion,” Bach said.

In the Olympic Charter, article 44.3 states: “Nobody is entitled as of right to participate in the Olympic Games.”

The individual Olympic sports must now decide the entry and eligibility conditions for their events, which include ongoing qualifiers for the Paris Olympics.

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Source: WT