Russian athletes must prove their neutrality to participate in events, IOC says

7 April, 01:30 AM
Protest against Russia's participation in the Olympic Games (Photo:REUTERS/Jana Rodenbusch)

Protest against Russia's participation in the Olympic Games (Photo:REUTERS/Jana Rodenbusch)

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommends that Russian athletes be allowed to compete in international events if they don't support Russia’s war against Ukraine, IOC said in a message on its website on April 5.

“As stated in the recommended conditions of participation document, only those Individual Neutral Athletes and support personnel who have not acted against the peace mission of the Olympic Movement by actively supporting the war in Ukraine may be invited to participate in international sports competitions,” the statement reads.

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“Contracted members of the Russian and Belarusian military or national security agencies are considered to support the war.”

The IOC proposes to screen athletes by taking into account their activity during the war and check if they expressed support for Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

“With regard to other active supporting measures, all relevant circumstances, in particular public statements, including those made on social media; participation in pro-war demonstrations or events; and the displaying of any symbol supporting the war in Ukraine, for example, the ‘Z’ symbol, have to be taken into consideration,” IOC said.

The committee believes that establishing independent panels could help screen Russian and Belarussian athletes for qualifying for the Olympic Games.

“In order to ensure a harmonized interpretation of these criteria, the IFs (International Federations) should consider creating a single independent panel under the umbrella of the IF associations (ASOIF, AIOWF and ARISF) to take the decisions,” the proposal said.

On April 5, the International Equestrian Federation refused to allow competitors from Russia to enter international events, precluding them from qualifying for Olympic Games.

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