The door to sports was opened for Russians and Belarusians – these are the boundary conditions of the International Olympic Committee

The door to sports was opened for Russians and Belarusians

The IOC defined the conditions under which international sports federations can restore the competition rights of Russian and Belarusian athletes. The Olympic Games in Paris 2024 and Milan and Cortina 2026 will be decided later.

29.3. 10:00•Updated 29.3. 10:07 a.m

The board of the International Olympic Committee IOC transferred the responsibility for the competition rights of Russian and Belarusian athletes to the international sports federations with its policy on Tuesday. The IOC defined the recommendation on the conditions under which sports federations can restore the competition rights of individual Russian and Belarusian athletes.

Teams from Russia and Belarus are not accepted for international competition, and the IOC did not discuss the Paris 2024 Olympics or the Milan and Cortina 2026 Winter Games at its meeting. The IOC will consider the Olympic situation later.

The Nordic Olympic Committees still support the complete blockade of Russia and Belarus. CEO of the Finnish Olympic Committee Taina Susiluoto believes that the common position of the Nordic countries can be seen in the harsh boundary conditions of the IOC recommendation.

For example, competition rights cannot be returned to athletes who support the war, nor to athletes who work for the defense forces of Russia or Belarus or security authorities.

– Together with the other Nordic countries, we have pointed out that it is not yet time to include Russians and Belarusians in international sports. It can be said that it has had some effect, because many sanctions remain in force and now the restoration of individual athletes’ competition rights even has surprisingly strict conditions, Susiluoto comments on the IOC board’s policy.

The IOC monitors the conditions

International sports events are still not allowed in Russia. Countries’ flags, national anthems and other national symbols are prohibited at sporting events and also in the stands of games, and representatives of countries’ governments may not be invited or accredited to international sporting events.

It can also be concluded from the position of the IOC board that the conditions are to be closely monitored.

– In the alignment, efforts have been made to ensure that there would be no abuses, Susiluoto pointed out.

– After the Games, for example, it can be assessed whether the Games or the results have been used for propaganda purposes. If the conditions are violated, the sanctions and ban can be reinstated.

A difficult situation for sports associations

Among the major sports federations, the International Athletics Federation WA has ruled that Russian and Belarusian athletes cannot return to international competition for the time being, even without national emblems.

The IOC’s policy may result in inconsistent practices between sports.

– The situation is difficult for international sports federations and also for athletes if different solutions are made between sports, confirmed Susiluoto.

– I really hope that Finnish athletes would be able to prepare for the Paris Olympics in peace and would be treated equally in Finland.

The Finnish Olympic Committee monitors the situation in cooperation with the Nordic countries.

– We have a continuous dialogue between the Nordic countries, Susiluoto said.