Kiev allies to ensure Russian, Belarussian athletes compete as neutral
The IOC says that Russian and Belarussian athletes should be allowed to compete under neutral flags if they publicly denounce the war in Ukraine.
A joint statement was signed by three dozen countries European and non-European countries, including the United States, Germany, the UK, and Ukraine, noting that they have taken into account the recommendations of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) regarding the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes under neutral flags.
Hungary, Malta, and Romania did not partake in the joint statement, which was signed also by Australia, Canada, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and New Zealand.
“We […] have noted the recommended conditions of participation for individual neutral athletes and support personnel with a Russian or Belarusian passport in international sports competitions, and the accompanying press statement, published by the International Olympic Committee on 28 March 2023,” the joint statement read.
“While fully respecting the autonomy of sporting organizations, we will closely watch the implementation of the recommendations by the IOC and international sports federations over the coming weeks.”
The countries will monitor the situation closely to ensure that the athletes of the sanctioned countries are “in no way appearing as representatives of their states.”
The IOC recommended on March 28 that international sports federations allow Russian athletes to compete as neutrals provided they denounce the Russian “War” on Ukraine.
In April, director of Olympic Solidarity and National Olympic Committees Relations at International Olympic Committee (IOC) James Macleod described Ukraine's decision forcing their national athletes to boycott competitions with Russian and Belarusian athletes as having "gone too far," stressing that governments should not prevent their national athletes from competing in international tournaments.
"They [Ukraine] have gone so far as to prohibit their own athletes from competing in events in which there could be neutral athletes with a Russian or Belarusian passport," he said then.
The Olympic official also described this as "unfortunate" and expressed his wishes that the IOC Executive Board would attend to this.
His comments came to a request made by the head of the Ukrainian President’s office Andrie Yermak earlier that urged the President of the International Gymnastics Federation President Morinari Watanabe to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from the upcoming 2024 Olympics.