19:59 08 Dec 2023

IOC approves Russian and Belarusian teams for 2024 Olympics under neutral flag

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has admitted individual athletes from Russia and Belarus to the 2024 Olympic Games in neutral status, and teams will not participate.

The qualification is subject to strict qualification conditions for the games, including anti-doping rules. 

Like all other athletes, they must also sign the updated Conditions of Participation applicable to Paris 2024. These include a commitment to respect the Olympic Charter, including the "Olympic Movement's mission for peace". The IOC and their respective federations will invite individual neutral athletes. Only a very limited number of athletes will qualify through existing qualification systems.

Among the 4,600 athletes worldwide who have so far qualified for Paris 2024, there are only 11 individual neutral athletes (eight with Russian passports and three with Belarusian).

By comparison, more than 60 Ukrainian athletes have qualified for Paris 2024 so far. The Ukrainian delegation is expected to be approximately the same as at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

National symbols of Russia and Belarus will be banned, including the anthem, flag, or other attributes.

"Sanctions against the Russian and Belarusian states and governments responsible for the war remain in place until the 2024 Paris Olympics. This means, inter alia, that no flag, anthem, colors, or any other identification of Russia or Belarus will be displayed at the 2024 Paris Olympics at any official venue or any official event."

The decision of the Executive Committee of the International Olympic Committee to allow Russians and Belarusians to compete in the 2024 Olympics in neutral status is irresponsible.

"Only recently, the President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, announced that the IOC will make the relevant decision only in March next year," the Sports Minister Maksym Bidnyi said in a statement.

Ukraine, for its part, explained to international partners and the Olympic Committee that Russian athletes have the same passports as the occupiers who are killing Ukrainians. This means that they bear part of the responsibility for the deaths of Ukrainians.

"During the war, you cannot hide behind the white flag of 'neutrality'. Neutrality at a time when the bloodiest war since the Second World War is going on in Europe and one nation is trying to destroy another means irresponsibility and tacit connivance with the killers,"

Bidnyi said that Ukraine strongly condemns the irresponsible decision of the International Olympic Committee Executive Board members. He said that the only country that has violated the Olympic truce three times is Russia, which s also trying to organize an alternative to the Olympics and is threatening to come to the sporting event in tanks.


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