New policies for Russia and Belarus

Published on April 14th, 2023

When Russia launched a large-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, they broke the Olympic Truce for the 2022 Olympic Games. This tradition dates back to 776 BC and is intended to secure safe passage for athletes during the Games and, in the long term, promote the idea of working toward world peace. So much for that.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) responded by urging all International Federations to relocate or cancel their sports events currently planned in Russia or Belarus, and recommended the ban of Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from international competitions.

But a year later, and with the Paris 2024 a year away, the IOC has adjusted its stance such that athletes with a Russian or a Belarusian passport can compete, under certain conditions, as Individual Neutral Athletes, but not under their national flags. However, this shift is limited and does not extend at this time to Paris 2024. For details, click here and here.

World Sailing issued the following statement on April 14, 2023:

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 organized by International Federations and international sports events organizers.

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 recognizes 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; for more details, click 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.

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