International Sport Bodies Ask IOC To Allow Russians As Neutrals For 2024 Olympics – News18

Representatives of international sports federations and national Olympic committees on Tuesday called for Russian and Belarusian athletes to be admitted under a neutral flag for the 2024 Games in Paris “as soon as possible”.

During the Olympic summit in Lausanne, athlete representatives also asked for “clarity” on the issue, according to a statement published after the meeting.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) still has to make a final ruling on whether athletes from Russia and Belarus, a key ally for Moscow in its offensive on Ukraine, will be permitted to compete next summer.

The IOC has repeated its stance that a decision will be taken “at the appropriate time”.

Athletes from the two countries have faced sanctions from a multitude of sports since Russia launched its assault on Ukraine in February of 2022.

However, over the past year a number of Olympic sports have eased restrictions, allowing them to return to competition under certain conditions.

In March, the IOC lifted an outright ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes, allowing them to compete as neutral athletes provided they did not support the Ukraine conflict and had no ties to the military.

The IOC on Tuesday “confirmed that the participation of such AINs (individual neutral athletes) in the Olympic Games could happen only under the existing strict conditions”.

“Neither the qualification system developed by the respective International Federations nor the number of allocated quota places to a sport will be changed for AINs with a Russian or Belarusian passport,” it added.

The IOC suspended the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) on October 12 for violating the territorial integrity of the membership of Ukraine by recognising illegally annexed territories.

ROC has recognised regional organisations from four Ukrainian territories annexed since Russia’s invasion began in 2022.

Russia’s Olympic body last month launched an appeal against its suspension by the IOC at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

In September, officials voted to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete at next year’s Paralympics under a neutral flag after deciding against an outright ban.

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – AFP)