(Media release received from Catherine Deans, 22 May 2023);– The International Olympic Committee (IOC) welcomes the reference to the sport in the Group of Seven (G7) Leaders’ Statement on Ukraine, which they issued during their summit in Hiroshima, Japan. The statement says that the G7 are “fully respecting the autonomy of sporting organizations” and wants to ensure that “Russian and Belarusian athletes are in no way appearing as representatives of their states”. This is fully aligned with the position of the IOC in this respect.
IOC President Thomas Bach said: “The IOC warmly welcomes the G7 support for the autonomy of sport and for the IOC’s recommendations on the participation of athletes with a Russian or Belarusian passport, only as individual, neutral athletes. This commitment to the autonomy of sports organisations comes at a crucial time when it is threatened by a few governments. Therefore, we are very grateful to the G7 Leaders for their unequivocal statement.”
The IOC recommendations from 28 March 2023 state:
- Athletes with a Russian or a Belarusian passport must compete only as Individual Neutral Athletes.
- Teams of athletes with a Russian or Belarusian passport cannot be considered.
- Athletes who actively support the war cannot compete. Support personnel who actively support the war cannot be entered.
- Athletes who are contracted to the Russian or Belarusian military or national security agencies cannot compete. Support personnel who are contracted to the Russian or Belarusian military or national security agencies cannot be entered.
- Any such Individual Neutral Athlete, like all the other participating athletes, must meet all anti-doping requirements applicable to them and particularly those set out in the anti-doping rules of the IFs.
- The sanctions against those responsible for the war, the Russian and Belarusian states and governments, must remain in place:
- No international sports events organised or supported by an IF or NOC in Russia or Belarus.
- No flag, anthem, colours or any other identifications whatsoever of these countries displayed at any sports event or meeting, including the entire venue.
- No Russian and Belarusian government or state official can be invited to or accredited for any international sports event or meeting.
Unfortunately, a few countries, in particular European ones, are going beyond these very strict IOC recommendations. They are putting in place obstacles to prevent athletes from their own countries from participating in international competitions, and against organisers of international competitions on their territory. President Bach added: “The IOC sincerely hopes that these countries will take this G7 statement into serious consideration so that international sport can once again live up to its mission to unite the world in peaceful competition.”
The G7 Summit is an international forum held annually for the leaders of the G7 member states of France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Italy, and Canada (in order of rotating presidency), and the European Union (EU).