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2024 Olympic Games: Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete as neutrals

The International Olympic Committee has announced that Russian and Belarusian athletes will compete as neutrals at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

The IOC said on Tuesday that sporting federations had requested a decision "as soon as possible" amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

IOC president Thomas Bach last week indicated that a final call on the matter would come at an IOC executive board meeting in March next year.

The announcement published on Tuesday said federations had noted that athletes from those countries had competed under strict conditions of neutrality in their qualifying events "largely without incident".

And in a release on Friday the IOC confirmed its decision.

A statement read: "The executive board (EB) of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has decided that individual neutral athletes (AINs) who have qualified through the existing qualification systems of the international federations (IFs) on the field of play will be declared eligible to compete at the Olympic Games Paris 2024 in accordance with the conditions outlined.

"Individual neutral athletes are athletes with a Russian or Belarusian passport. The strict eligibility conditions based on the recommendations issued by the IOC EB on 28 March 2023 for international federations and international sports event organisers will be applied."

In March the IOC published criteria under which global sports federations may consider readmitting athletes from Russia and Belarus.

The recommendations said only individual athletes from those countries should be allowed to compete – not teams.

Athletes and support personnel who actively support the war in Ukraine must also remain barred, as must any athlete or support staff member contracted to the Russian or Belarusian military or security agencies.

All athletes, support personnel and officials from Russia and Belarus are currently excluded from all World Athletics Series events and from hosting any international or European athletics events.

And World Athletics president Lord Coe said that position is unchanged.

"We have a fixed position," Coe said, following a World Athletics Council meeting in Monaco that ended on Friday.

"That position hasn't altered, and I think it is right that international federations should make judgements that they feel is in the best interests of their sport. That is what our council has done.

"You may well see some neutral athletes from Russia and Belarus in Paris. They just won't be in athletics. The position that our sport took, and has consistently taken, is unchanged. It is a settled position."

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