Skip to content
Home ยป Paris 2024 Olympics: Russian And Belarusian Athletes Allowed To Compete As Neutrals

Paris 2024 Olympics: Russian And Belarusian Athletes Allowed To Compete As Neutrals

Russian and Belarusian athletes who have qualified for the Paris 2024 Olympics will be allowed to participate as neutrals, the International Olympic Committee has confirmed.

The conditions of their inclusion include competing without flags, emblems or anthems of their country.

Athletes from those nations were banned following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Letting individuals take part was about “respecting human rights” the IOC said.

Ukraine had threatened to boycott the Games if the ban was not upheld but Ukraine’s sports minister Vadym Huttsait told Reuters in July it could drop that threat if Russian and Belarusian athletes were made to compete under a neutral flag.

Friday’s decision comes after Olympic sports federations asked the IOC to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete as neutrals in Paris earlier this week.

“The executive board of the IOC has decided that individual neutral athletes (AINs) who have qualified through the existing qualification systems of the International Federations on the field of play will be declared eligible to compete at the Olympic Games Paris 2024 in accordance with the conditions outlined,” the Olympic body said on Friday.

“AINs are athletes with a Russian or Belarusian passport. The strict eligibility conditions based on the recommendations issued by the IOC executive board on 28 March 2023 for international federations and international sports event organisers will be applied.”

However, World Athletics said its position remains unchanged, with athletes, support personnel and officials from Russia and Belarus remaining excluded “from all World Athletics Series events”.

“We will continue to monitor the situation, but unless there is a major change in circumstances between now and the Olympic Games, this exclusion will apply to Paris 2024,” World Athletics said.

The IOC outlined six “strict eligibility conditions” for AINs at Paris 2024 reflecting the same conditions under which they have qualified.

It said among the 4,600 athletes who have so far qualified for the Games, only 11 were AINs – eight with a Russian passport, three with a Belarusian passport.

The conditions for their participation are as follows:

The IOC recommended to sports federations in March that only individual athletes from Russia and Belarus should be allowed to compete – not teams representing those nations.

It also said athletes and support personnel who actively support the war in Ukraine must remain excluded.

“The protection of the rights of individual athletes to participate in competitions despite the suspension of their National Olympic Committee is a well-established practice, respecting human rights,” the IOC said.

Sports federations had called for the IOC to reach a decision to “bring clarity” to Olympic qualifying events.

The Olympic body was criticised earlier this year for saying it was “exploring a pathway” for Russian and Belarusians to compete at Paris 2024, with the United Kingdom among more than 30 countries to pledge support for an ongoing ban at the time.

The Russian Olympic Committee was suspended by the IOC “with immediate effect until further notice” in October after it recognised regional organisations from four Ukrainian territories illegally annexed by Russia.

Among its considerations in reaching the decision, the IOC said an “overwhelming majority of athletes” did not want to “punish fellow athletes for the actions of their government”.

It also reaffirmed its commitment to supporting Ukrainian athletes “in every way possible, in order to see a strong team from the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine at the Olympic Games Paris 2024”.

The Paris Olympics take place from 26 July to 11 August 2024.