International Olympic Committee calls for Russian and Belarusian athletes to be stopped from participating in events

IOC calls for sporting federations and organisers to not allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete following invasion of Ukraine

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The International Olympic Committee has called on international sporting federations and organisers to prevent Russian and Belarusian athletes from taking part in their events following the invasion of Ukraine.

In a statement (opens in new tab) published on Monday afternoon, the IOC said the invasion of Ukraine "puts the Olympic Movement in a dilemma". 

The statement reads: "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."

Last Thursday Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine, which has been condemned by the international community. 

On Friday, cycling's governing body, the UCI, deplored "the violation of international law and of Ukraine’s territorial integrity", and called for an "immediate halt to hostilities".

The IOC's statement goes one step further, however, and includes a resolution which says that Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials should not be allowed to participate in international competitions.

It says: "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."

The resolution continues: "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."

Both of these recommendations may affect Russians and Belarusians who are professional cyclists, such as Bora-Hansgrohe's Aleksandr Vlasov, Ineos Grenadiers' Pavel Sivakov or Canyon-SRAM's Alena Amialiusik.

Sivakov wrote on Twitter last week that he's "totally against the war" and that "most Russians only want peace".

It also urges that no sports events be organised to be held in Russia or Belarus; the UCI has already stated that it has no events planned there for 2022.

The UCI has been contacted for comment.

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