Russian athletes may be allowed to participate in the 2024 Summer Games, but the country's flag remains banned
Photo: Jae C. Hong / dpa
The return of Russian and Belarusian athletes to world sport is becoming more concrete, despite the ongoing war in Ukraine and a year and a half before the start of the 2024 Summer Games in Paris.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has outlined a concept for reintegration, which the organization says has broad support from IOC members, athletes' representatives, international sports federations and national Olympic committees.
"No athlete should be prevented from participating in competitions solely because of their passport," the IOC said after a meeting of its executive.
The "overwhelming majority" of the participants in consultation meetings in the past week have therefore spoken out in favor of admission under "strict conditions".
This included starting as neutral athletes and a "clear commitment" to the Olympic Charter.
Accordingly, "only those who have not violated the IOC's peacekeeping mission by actively supporting the war in Ukraine" are allowed to participate.
No invitations to members of the government
The flag, anthem, colors or other distinctive signs of Russia or Belarus should remain banned, and no invitation or accreditation should be given to government or state officials of either country.
Most of those who took part in the consultations had "urged" the IOC to continue studying the concept, "with each international federation having sole jurisdiction over its international competitions."
Asia's umbrella organization offered in December to let Russian and Belarusian activists start.
Selenskyj demands exclusion
In December, in an exchange with IOC President Thomas Bach and on Tuesday in a conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for the exclusion of Russian athletes from the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.
In its statement on Wednesday, the IOC specifically referred to support for Ukraine.
Russia violated Olympic truce
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, just three days after the closing ceremony of the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing, also violating the Olympic truce that will last until after the Paralympic Games.
The IOC then recommended that the international federations exclude the athletes from Russia and Belarus.
International sporting events should also be withdrawn from both countries.