The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has agreed to reinforce their sanctions against Russia and the Republic of Belarus as well as to solidify their support towards Ukraine.

The announcement followed a meeting with the Committee’s Executive Board on Wednesday January 25 to discuss the unanimous conclusions of the Olympic Summit which was held on December 9, 2022.

The discussions were centered around three main areas which included the sanctions against Russia and Belarus, solidarity towards Ukraine and its athletes, and a way forward for athletes in possession of Russian or Belarusian passports.

With regard to the sanctions, it was decided that International Federations (IFs) or National Olympic Committees (NOCs) must not organise or support any international sporting events in Russia or Belarus.

Likewise, their flags, anthems, colours or any other identifications of the two countries must not be displayed at any sporting event or meeting. Finally, government officials of the two countries will not be invited to or accredited for any international sports event or meeting.

As it relates to the solidarity with Ukrainian athletes and the Ukrainian Olympic community, there was unanimous support to “continue and even strengthen the full and unwavering commitment to solidarity with the Ukrainian athletes and the Ukrainian Olympic community.”

This decision was made to ensure that Ukraine has a strong team from the NOC of Ukraine at the Olympic Games Paris 2024 and the Olympic Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026.

In addition, the IOC agreed to encourage all IFs, NOCs and sports event organisers to undertake all possible efforts to facilitate the training, preparation and participation of Ukrainian athletes in international sports events.

On the topic of the individual athletes with Russian or Belarusian passports, the vast majority of the participants in each of the consultations expressed that no athlete should be prevented from competing just because of their passport.  

Instead, they agreed to provide a pathway for athletes’ participation in competition under strict conditions.

These conditions include athletes participating in competitions as “neutral athletes” and will in no way be allowed to represent their state or any other organisation in Russia or Belarus.

“Only athletes who fully respect the Olympic Charter would participate. This means in particular: first, only those who have not acted against the peace mission of the IOC by actively supporting the war in Ukraine could compete. Second, only athletes who fully comply with the World Anti-Doping Code and all relevant anti-doping rules and regulations would be eligible. There must be individual checks carried out for all entered athletes,” the IOC said in a statement.