IOC Recommends Excluding Russian, Belarusian Athletes From Competing

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has proposed the exclusion of Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from international sporting events in light of the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In a press release issued Monday, the IOC’s Executive Board (EB) said it needed to “protect the integrity of global sports competitions and for the safety of all the participants,” resulting in this decision.

This decision opened the door for FIFA, the governing body of soccer, to exclude Russia from a World Cup qualifying match on March 24. Poland had refused to play the scheduled game against Russia.

The proposal from the IOC comes three days after the organization “urged” national federations to remove hosting duties from Russia and Belarus.

The IOC also notes that, in the event that it’s not possible to remove Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing in any given event on short notice due to organizational or legal reasons, they do “everything in their power” to ensure Russian and Belarusian athletes aren’t allowed to compete under the country’s name.

“Russian or Belarusian nationals, be it as individuals or teams, should be accepted only as neutral athletes or neutral teams,” the IOC said. “No national symbols, colors, flags or anthems should be displayed.”

On Sunday, the Swiss Swimming Federation called on FINA and the international aquatics community to suspend Russia and Belarus from “all involvement in international aquatics until a peaceful resolution of this conflict.”

The Swiss Federation added that they would not send delegations to aquatic events held in Russia or Belarus, including World Juniors (which have since been pulled out of Kazan) and SC Worlds.

The IOC also withdrew the Olympic Order from all who had an important function in the Russian government, headlined by President Vladimir Putin.

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1 year ago

With or without national symbols, flags etc. it would be revolting if Russia and Belarus competed. The IOC should develop some backbone and ban them outright. I know many will say it would be unfair on the athletes but when a country acts as egregiously as Russia and when it uses its athletes for national prestige going so far as to engage in state- sponsored doping, a total ban is the only appropriate sanction.

1 year ago

Can’t you make them participate under the name of FINA, not Russia? Even if there is a sin in the country, I don’t think the players are sinful.

Reply to  ddd
1 year ago

@ddd you need to read @Ukranian’s post below. It’s bigger than sport, and by allowing Russian athletes, you normalize the situation. No one is targeting the individual athletes (for the most part)… it is far bigger than that.

1 year ago

The Women’s Tennis Association hasn’t banned players but they have removed the Russian flag (but not Belarusian flag) from their website. It appears they will be letting them play.

I’m not sure I support banning individual athletes, but any event where it’s clear the athletes are representing their country should be banned. I would support Russians swimming at World Champs in individual events, not under the Russian flag, but don’t think they should be allowed to swim relays because it’s obvious the relay represents the country.

Reply to  jamesjabc
1 year ago

Hard disagree on the last part. If you have a Russian passport or sporting citizenship then you are automatically representing their country. The only condition in which they should be allowed to compete is if they agree to renounce their Russian citizenship/turn in their passport, and in the interim, the athlete can compete as “independent/unattached” while they go through the process of obtaining sporting citizenship for another country–instead of having to spend the typically 2-year waiting window. But for a variety of reasons (economic, logistic, and safety, among others), I presume this would be impossible for most athletes.

1 year ago

Friends, let me explain why athletes should be banned for those who still do not understand 🙏🏻
It’s not about competition anymore, it’s about saving lives. There’s war here. Real war with real bombs, tanks, missiles, aviation, deaths, blood, tears etc. Russians just came here from the territory of Belarus and started bloodshed. It’s not time for discussions – we need action. I don’t care who wins those medals. I just don’t want to die or watch people I love being killed. Ukrainian army is strong, brave, well equipped, motivated and supported by the whole world. But still the number of daily victims is enormous both among military and civilians. Pootin is insane and desperate. And he doesn’t seem… Read more »

1 year ago

Should’ve done the same when America was terrorizing the Middle East 😂😂😂 IOC is a joke

Reply to  Bruh
1 year ago

The hypocrisy…

Reply to  Bruh
1 year ago


Corn Pop
1 year ago

Thomas Bach was very creepy in Beijing . That is all .

1 year ago

It’s funny that these organizations grow a backbone after there’s no money to be gained.

1 year ago

Can someone tell me why athletes should be punished for a war all of them are against. I understand the idea of punishing the country but why not make them compete independently and the countries aren’t allowed to send an offical team and can’t have their anthem or flag used. Just make the athletes have to remove all links to their country during competition would seem more fair

Reply to  Tyson
1 year ago

Because the sports system there is so intertwined with the government. When the so-call “ROC” athletes win, drug-aided or not, the Russian government takes the credit, as it should because of its involvement in training and doping those athletes. The only way to punish Russia, unfortunately, is to punish its athletes. I’m sad that there would be collateral damages, but the Russian government is to blame, not the international community. I would encourage Russian athletes, those who have not been doped, try to become citizens of other countries. I’m sure Ukraine will take a few.

Reply to  TWU
1 year ago

It’s unfortunate–but when you allow athletes and teams from a despotic regime to compete at various events, you essentially normalize that regime, and Russia under Putin is not normal–just as China is not normal. When you hold major international sporting events–the Olympics, the World Cup, etc.–in Russia, you normalize a regime and essentially become complicity in Putin’s tyranny and corruption. And just about everyone HAS been complicit. It’s hard to get rid of dictators, and if they run big countries with lots of money, natural resources, huge consumer population, leaders, business people, everyone just decides to engage them, in some cases thinking engagement might change the regime, but it never does. The other reason to ban the athletes is that… Read more »

Reply to  Tyson
1 year ago

Because the athletes are part of the cultural elite in Russia. Until the people empowering Putin feel the pain, nothing will change.

Reply to  SwammaJammaDingDong
1 year ago

They’re not part of the cultural elite (oligarchs), rather they are to be apolitical but patriotic (example wearing the Russian Orthodox cross).

Excluding Russia from the rest of the world Economically and through soft power (sports) hurts the Russian people first. But it will effect the power Putin projects. You have protests already and these will continue, and the more it effects Russians over a war that is not in their defense the worse it is for leadership.

Reply to  Xman
1 year ago

You are not familiar with psychology of soviet/Russian people. A hardship is a normal state of the majority of population for decades if not for centuries. If it gets even harder they may not even notice that. And there is always the explanation: there are enemies everywhere who have been dreaming to kill our country, enslave us and make us suffer. But nothing can kill our spirits if we unite around our leaders who lead us to the prosperous future. And if you don’t feel like that then we have plenty of cold remote places where at rare free minutes from hard labour you can think how wrong you are.
It isn’t the general population that has to be… Read more »

Reply to  Tyson
1 year ago


The loss of life and livelihood from an invasion is so much more substantial than a few athletes missing their chance to go to a swim meet

This is a very light punishment comparatively

Corn Pop
Reply to  Tyson
1 year ago

Perhaps you are not the ‘ we’ here .

Last edited 1 year ago by Corn Pop

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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