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Return of Russians and Belarusians in competition: a mosaic of different decisions


While the International Olympic Committee has opened the door to Russians and Belarusians, excluded since the invasion of Ukraine, the international federations do not show a united front on this question which is causing much debate in the run-up to the 2024 Olympics.


The president of World Athletics, the Briton Sebastian Coe, had estimated, even before the IOC's recommendation, that Russian and Belarusian athletes should be excluded from competition, believing that the sanctions imposed against their countries "seem to be the only peaceful way to s 'oppose Russian actions and bring peace'.

He repeated on March 23 that Russians and Belarusians remained excluded in the “near future”.

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The International Swimming Federation, World Swimming, for its part accepted the IOC's recommendation on Wednesday.

However, a final decision should not be made before the start of the World Championships in Japan in July.

If this were however favorable, the Russian and Belarusian swimmers would have time to qualify for the Paris Olympics.


Russian and Belarusian players can participate in ATP and WTA tournaments but not under the flag of their country.

They are banned from participating in the Davis Cup and its women's equivalent, the Billie Jean King Cup.

After being excluded from Wimbledon last year, they will be able to participate this year.


Russia has been excluded from qualifying for the World Cup in 2022 and for Euro 2024. According to Denis Rogachev, the president of the Russian federation, "negotiations are underway" so that it can participate in the first edition of the Central Asian Championship in June in Uzbekistan and “a process of negotiations is underway with UEFA and FIFA for a return in stages”.

UEFA did not exclude Belarus from qualifying for Euro-2024 despite pressure from European Union countries but withdrew Minsk from organizing the Women's Under-19 Euro scheduled for 2025 Belarusian clubs can participate in European competitions.


The Russian and Belarusian gymnasts are still suspended but the president of the international federation Morinari Watanabe indicated Thursday that he was in favor of their return.

The issue will be on the agenda for the meeting of the world gymnastics governing body in Turkey on May 12-13.

Formula 1

Russian and Belarusian drivers can participate in competitions under a "neutral" banner in Formula 1. But the contract of the only Russian present in F1, Nikita Mazepin, was broken by his team, the American Haas just before the start of the season 2022. The Russian GP has been dropped from the calendar in 2022 and plans to hold another Grand Prix in St Petersburg this year have been cancelled.

Ice Hockey

The international federation banned Russia, five-time world champion under this name since 1992, for a second consecutive year considering "that it is not yet appropriate to reinstate the Russian and Belarusian teams".


The international federation decided on March 10 to reinstate Russian and Belarusian fencers.

But this decision is not unanimous since more than 300 active or retired fencers sent an open letter to IOC President Thomas Bach, himself gold medalist in foil at the Montreal Olympics in 1976, as well as to the President of the federation Emmanuel Katsiadakis, accusing them of putting the interests of Russia above those of Ukraine.

World Cup events in Germany, France and Poland, counting for qualifying for the 2024 Olympics, have been canceled, the president of the European Confederation Giorgio Scarso, telling AFP that "the situation cannot continue like that".

Horse riding

The international federation repeated this week that Russian and Belarusian riders were excluded from all its competitions.

European games

Scheduled from June 21 to July 2 in Krakow (Poland), the European Games which bring together 18 Olympic disciplines and which will serve as qualifying events for the Olympic Games-2024, will be disputed a priori without Russians or Belarusians.

"Under no pretext and in no way will the athletes representing Russia and Belarus take part in our events," said the head of the organizing committee Marcin Nowak in early April.

Source: lefigaro

All sports articles on 2023-04-07

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