The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has recommended that all international sporting federations ban athletes from Russia and Belarus.
It follows the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has been supported by Belarus.
The IOC say they've taken the step with a heavy heart after Russia breached its Olympic Truce. An ancient Greek tradition, the modern Olympic Truce dates back to 1993 and takes in the year of, and year prior to, an Olympic Games.
Their move puts pressure on world football's governing body FIFA to offer a harder stance than that made public on Sunday - ie, to allow Russia to fulfil their World Cup playoffs, but without using the name or flag of Russia.
"The Olympic Movement is united in its sense of fairness not to punish athletes for the decisions of their government if they are not actively participating in them," read an IOC statement, "We are committed to fair competitions for everybody without any discrimination.
"The current war in Ukraine, however, puts the Olympic Movement in a dilemma. While athletes from Russia and Belarus would be able to continue to participate in sports events, many athletes from Ukraine are prevented from doing so because of the attack on their country."
They recommended the following:
- In order to protect the integrity of global sports competitions and for the safety of all the participants, the IOC EB recommends that International Sports Federations and sports event organisers not invite or allow the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials in international competitions.
- Wherever this is not possible on short notice for organisational or legal reasons, the IOC EB strongly urges International Sports Federations and organisers of sports events worldwide to do everything in their power to ensure that no athlete or sports official from Russia or Belarus be allowed to take part under the name of Russia or Belarus. Russian or Belarusian nationals, be it as individuals or teams, should be accepted only as neutral athletes or neutral teams. No national symbols, colours, flags or anthems should be displayed.
Wherever, in very extreme circumstances, even this is not possible on short notice for organisational or legal reasons, the IOC EB leaves it to the relevant organisation to find its own way to effectively address the dilemma described above.
In this context, the IOC EB considered in particular the upcoming Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 and reiterated its full support for the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the Games.
One of the most high-profile athletes that could be immediately affected is the men's tennis no.1, Daniil Medvedev.
Russian president Vladimir Putin, deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko, and Deputy Chief of Staff Dmitry Kozak have had their Olympic Orders withdrawn by the IOC.
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