US Sailing guidance on participation ban

Published on April 4th, 2022

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, World Sailing joined the International Olympic Committee and global sports organizations in taking the decision to suspend participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials in their events until further notice.

Additionally, the world governing body for the sport of sailing strongly urged its Member National Authorities, Class Associations, affiliated bodies, and all event organizers to implement the measure to suspend the participation of Russian or Belarusian athletes and officials in their respective events and competitions.

In support of these policies, US Sailing joined the movement to suspend the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes, teams and Race Officials at US Sailing events. But much like World Sailing, the US position only addressed their owned events, so the impact was nominal at best.

The measurable impact of these decrees was a ban at the event and class level, but what has been missing is how to navigate the grey areas of citizenship and residency. More so, the administration of the order was now likely on the shoulders of volunteers administering the event.

To provide greater clarity, the US Sailing Board of Directors approved an amendment to the US Sailing Prescription to RRS 76.1 – Exclusion of Boats or Competitors, providing a framework for organizing authorities to exclude sailors from Russia and Belarus, in accordance with World Sailing policy, should they choose to do so.

Under the new policy, countries that may be excluded are listed on the US Sailing website. Currently, citizens or World Sailing ID holders from The Republic of Belarus (BLR) and The Russian Federation (RUS) MNAs may be excluded.

US Sailing will exclude sailors, officials and coaches from these countries from its own events but will allow participation by dual citizens and Permanent Residents (green card holders) who have applied to be naturalized US citizens.

The policy offers guidance to organizing authorities and race committees that may need to decide whether to allow sailors from these countries to participate in their events.

The amended prescription to RRS 76.1 states:

US Sailing prescribes that an organizing authority or race committee shall not reject or cancel the entry of a boat or exclude a competitor eligible under the notice of race and sailing instructions for an arbitrary or capricious reason or for reason of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or age.

However, an organizing authority or race committee may exclude a competitor who is a citizen of, or holds a World Sailing ID as an MNA member of, a country listed on the US Sailing website at https://www.ussailing.org/exclusion.

For more information and guidance, visit https://www.ussailing.org/exclusion or contact the Race Administration office at raceadmin@ussailing.org.

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