The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee has recommended that international sports federations ban Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from participating in events, the IOC said on Monday following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The IOC said the board made the decision “to protect the integrity of global sporting competitions and the safety of all participants”.
The Russian Olympic Committee categorically contradicted the IOC, saying the decision “contradicts both the IOC’s regulatory documents and the (Olympic) Charter”.
“As a first step, we believe it is necessary to send inquiries to international federations for an official response on the status of Russian athletes and their rights to participate in international competitions, since federations have the authority to invite athletes to international competitions in the respective sport allow,” the ROC said in a statement.
“For its part, the Russian Olympic Committee intends to consistently uphold the rights and interests of Russian athletes and to provide our national federations with all necessary support to challenge discriminatory decisions by the relevant international federations.”
The IOC’s statement comes just ahead of the Winter Paralympics, which begin in Beijing on Friday. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) meets on Wednesday to discuss Russia ahead of the Games.
IOC STATEMENT “FALLING SHORT”
Athletes from Ukraine and other nations have called on the IOC and IPC to immediately ban Russia and Belarus from events. Read the full story
The Global Athlete movement, which aims to empower athletes, said the IOC’s statement was “short-sighted”.
“The #IOC refuses to fully suspend the Russian and Belarusian NOCs,” it said on Twitter. “The #IPC must immediately suspend the Paralympic Committees of Russia and Belarus. @Olympic @Paralympic athletes have seen these public relations efforts in the past.”
The IOC also urged federations to ensure that no athlete or sports official from Russia or Belarus is allowed to compete under the name of Russia or Belarus.
“Russian or Belarusian nationals, whether as individuals or teams, should only be accepted as neutral athletes or neutral teams. No national symbols, colors, flags or anthems should be displayed,” the statement added.
However, the Board said that in very extreme circumstances, the Board would leave it to the relevant organizations to effectively address the dilemma.
“In this regard, the Executive Board of the IOC has given particular consideration to the upcoming Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games and reiterated its full support for the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the Games,” the statement added.
OLYMPIC ORDER WITHDRAWN BY PUTIN
The IOC reiterated its recommendation not to organize any sporting event in Russia or Belarus.
The IOC also said it had taken the ad hoc decision to withdraw the Order of Olympics, the highest award bestowed by the IOC, from anyone currently holding a key position in the government of the Russian Federation, including Russian President Vladimir Putin .
The decision was made due to “the exceptional circumstances of the situation and taking into account the extremely serious violations of the Olympic Truce and other violations of the Olympic Charter by the Russian government in the past”.
Ukraine’s Health Ministry said Sunday that 352 civilians, including 14 children, have been killed since Russia invaded the country last week. Belarus was an important base for the invasion.
Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation”.