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PARIS 2024

International Olympic Committee allows Russian athletes to compete in 2024: What are the restrictions?

While the IOC has maintained its stance on Russia and Belarus, it’s softened its position on athletes from those countries, meaning they can now participate.

Update:
While the IOC has maintained its stance on Russia and Belarus, it’s softened its position on athletes from those countries, meaning they can now participate.
YURI KADOBNOVAFP

In a monumental move, the Executive Board (EB) of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has taken the decision to allow Individual Neutral Athletes (AINs) who have qualified through the existing qualification systems of the International Federations (IFs) to compete at the Olympic Games Paris 2024. Eligibility will be exclusively tied to several conditions that the committee has outlined, which we will take a look at below. To be clear, AINs are athletes who hold a Russian or Belarusian passport.

Are there any exceptions for AINs?

No there are not. As is the case with any athlete who qualifies for the Olympic Games, Individual Neutral Athletes will be required to comply with the rules and regulations that are applicable at any of the games such as anti-doping. Indeed, AINs will also be obligated to sign the updated Conditions of Participation applicable for Paris 2024. If you’re wondering, the document contains a section that speaks directly to the athlete’s commitment to respect the Olympic Charter, something that includes “the peace mission of the Olympic Movement.”

OK, so what are the eligibility conditions for AINs?

Given that AINs will authorized to participate by the IOC and their respective IFs, you can probably guess that there will be a very limited number of athletes who will qualify through the existing systems that are used by the IFs. To put things in perspective, there are currently 4,600 athletes from around the globe who have qualified for Paris 2024. Of that number, there are only 11 AINs, eight of whom hold a Russian passport and three with a Belarusian one. By comparison, there are presently 60 Ukrainian athletes who have booked their tickets to Paris, a figure that is more or less the same as it was at the Olympic Games in Tokyo back in 2020. This of course brings us to the eligibility conditions for AINs, which it has to be said are quite strict. Let’s take a look:

  1. Qualified athletes with a Russian or Belarusian passport will be entered as, and compete as, Individual Neutral Athletes (“AINs”).
  2. Teams of athletes with a Russian or Belarusian passport will not be considered.
  3. Athletes who actively support the war will not be eligible to be entered or to compete. Support personnel who actively support the war will not be entered.
  4. Athletes who are contracted to the Russian or Belarusian military or national security agencies will not be eligible to be entered or to compete. Support personnel who are contracted to the Russian or Belarusian military or national security agencies will not be entered.
  5. Any such Individual Neutral Athlete, like all the other participating athletes, will have to meet all anti-doping requirements applicable to them in the lead-up to and at the Olympic Games Paris 2024, and particularly those set out in the anti-doping rules of the IFs.
  6. The sanctions against those responsible for the war, the Russian and Belarusian states, and governments, remain in place for the Olympic Games Paris 2024. This means, in particular, that:  No flag, anthem, colors or any other identifications whatsoever of Russia or Belarus will be displayed at the Olympic Games Paris 2024 in any official venue or any official function. Secondly, no Russian or Belarusian government or state officials will be invited to or accredited for the Olympic Games Paris 2024.

Regarding how these conditions will be practically applied, you can have a look at a separate document entitled “Principles Relating to the Implementation of the Participation for Individual Neutral Athletes and their Support Personnel with a Russian or Belarusian Passport at the Olympic Games Paris 2024.” Among various topics that it covers, the document states that the IOC will utilize independent evaluation of the eligibility of each qualified AIN proposed by the IF, and their support personnel.

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