IOC Pushes For Russian and Belarusian Athletes To Participate As Neutrals

Updated On Mar 29, 2023 by Landon Wheeler

Ukrainians rally outside IOC headquarters against Russian and Belarusian athletes participating under a neutral flag Summary

  • The IOC is pushing for Russian and Belarusian athletes to return as neutrals
  • IOC will continue to uphold ban Russian and Belarusian team sports
  • Multiple countries criticise IOC for continuing to fight for Russian and Belarusian athletes

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has once again pushed for Russian and Belarusian athletes to take part in international sporting events.

The IOC has now suggested that Russian and Belarusian athletes can return to international sporting events and participate as neutrals.

IOC Pushes For Individual Neutral Athletes

The IOC had initially banned Russian and Belarusian athletes from participating in international sporting events due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. However, the IOC changed its mind in December 2022 and said that it would lift the ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes.

That decision was met with opposition from multiple countries including Ukraine, Poland, Germany and Latvia. As many as 30 countries have come together in a show of support and said that the IOC must continue to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from international sporting events as long as Russia continues its war on Ukraine.


IOC president Thomas Bach has tried to find a solution to this standoff and the latest suggestion is allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate as Individual Neutral Athletes.

Bach said that Russian and Belarusian athletes can participate in international sporting events but will have to wear either a white or a self-colored uniform and will now be allowed to represent Russia or Belarus by wearing a flag or representing their country in anyway.

Bach has also confirmed that this rule will not apply to team sports like football and hockey as the ban on Russian and Belarusian teams will continue to hold good!

IOC Continues To Draw Criticism

The new decision made by IOC President Bach has not gone down well and the IOC has continued to get flak. Poland lashed out at the IOC as Piotr Wawrzyk, Deputy Foreign Minister for Poland said the new decision made by the IOC was shameful given the fact that Russia has continued to bomb civilian sites in the Ukraine.

Russia has also criticized the IOC’s decision saying that its athletes were facing discrimination from the IOC on the basis of their nationality. Ukraine has continued to threaten to boycott the 2024 Paris Olympics if the IOC does not completely ban Russian and Belarusian athletes.

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