The wrangling over the status of individual athletes and support personnel with a Russian or Belarusian passport in international sports competitions continues.
With the Paris 2024 Games moving to the fore, and no let-up in the war in Ukraine, the IOC Executive Board recently proposed that International Federations allow Russian and Belarusian competitors to return to the global sporting stage as individual neutral athletes.
With the proviso they do not support the invasion of Ukraine and are not affiliated to the military.
This IOC proposel was immediatly described by the President of the Russian Olympic Committee as a grossly discriminatory sanction.
In its latest Statement World Sailing has now said that it will make a decision on the readmission of Russian and Belarusian athletes as neutrals at its Council meeting scheduled to be held on 18 May 2023.
With the primary sailing qualification event for a country wanting to gain entry to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games taking place at the 2023 Allianz Sailing World Championships in the Netherlands from 10 to 20 August, World Sailing is clearly hoping to clarify the situation well before then.
World Sailing Statement . . .
World Sailing welcomes the new guidance from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board, recommending the Conditions of Participation for individual athletes and support personnel with a Russian or Belarusian passport in international sports competitions organised by International Federations and international sports events organisers.
The World Sailing Board convened this week to consider the new guidance which places any decision at the sole discretion of International Federations. The Board supports the Fundamental Principles of Olympism in the Olympic Charter and recognises that the principles guide the IOC’s recommendation to allow the return of Russian and Belarusian competitors as independent neutral athletes.
Noting that the IOC Executive Board have not yet considered the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the Olympic Games at Paris 2024, the Board’s current view is that in regard to Olympic qualification events, the Semaine Olympique Française (SOF) in April 2024 represents the targeted opportunity for any potential readmission to Olympic qualification events. SOF is a major regatta in the Paris 2024 qualifying process, more details of which can be found here.
Given the broad diversity of sailing and given the strong views held by World Sailing’s Member National Authorities, the Board’s position is that the wider decision on the return to international sailing events will be made in consultation with the World Sailing Council at the Mid-Year Meeting, to be held on 18th of May, 2023. Following the Council meeting, the Board intend to make a decision, subject to World Sailing’s policies and regulations.
World Sailing remains wholly committed to supporting Ukraine’s sailing community through what continues to be an unimaginably difficult time.