International Olympic Committee asks all sports to ban Russia and Belarus from competitions

Russia continues to face increased sanctions and opposition from the sporting world

<p>The Olympic flag and Russian flag are raised at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics</p>

The Olympic flag and Russian flag are raised at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

The International Olympic Committee has urged the heads and governing bodies of all sports to refrain from allowing athletes or officials from Russia or Belarus to participate in any organised international competitions.

The move comes amid increased numbers of associations and nations refusing to either play against teams or individuals from the countries, or to allow them to visit for international events.

Poland, Sweden and Czech Republic have all refused to face Russia in the upcoming World Cup qualifier play-offs for Qatar 2022, while Fifa are coming under increasing pressure from senior football figures and governments alike to ban Russia from the finals regardless. England, Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland have all stated their refusal to play Russia at any level of the game.

Formula One have cancelled the Russian Grand Prix this season and a wave of sporting teams are cancelling Russian-linked sponsors, including Manchester United’s near-decade-long association with Aeroflot, Schalke’s Gazprom shirt deal and F1 team Haas’ Uralkali livery sponsorship.

Now, the IOC have spoken out to advise that no Russian or Belarusian individuals should be allowed to partake in events at all, including those already arranged. A statement from the IOC read:

“We are committed to fair competitions for everybody without any discrimination. The current war in Ukraine, however, puts the Olympic Movement in a dilemma. While athletes from Russia and Belarus would be able to continue to participate in sports events, many athletes from Ukraine are prevented from doing so because of the attack on their country.

“This is a dilemma which cannot be solved. The IOC EB has therefore today carefully considered the situation and, with a heavy heart, issued the following resolution:

“In order to protect the integrity of global sports competitions and for the safety of all the participants, the IOC EB recommends that International Sports Federations and sports event organisers not invite or allow the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials in international competitions.

“Wherever this is not possible on short notice for organisational or legal reasons, the IOC EB strongly urges International Sports Federations and organisers of sports events worldwide to do everything in their power to ensure that no athlete or sports official from Russia or Belarus be allowed to take part under the name of Russia or Belarus. Russian or Belarusian nationals, be it as individuals or teams, should be accepted only as neutral athletes or neutral teams. No national symbols, colours, flags or anthems should be displayed.”

The IOC has also reiterated its stance that no sport events should be organised to take place in Russia or Belarus, while also removing the Olympic Order from Russian president Vladimir Putin, deputy prime minister Dmitry Chernyshenko and chief of staff Dmitry Kozak, citing “the extremely grave violation of the Olympic Truce” by the nation.

Additionally, the statement praised the bravery of athletes speaking out against their national regime, saying the “IOC admires and supports in particular the calls for peace by Russian athletes”.

Tennis stars and Olympic mixed doubles gold medal winners Andrey Rublev and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova have both hit out against Russia’s actions and called to “stop the war” as sport’s voice continues to play an increasingly prominent role in the opposition of Putin.

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