IOC Says Athletes From Russia and Belarus Should not Compete

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The International Olympic Committee on Monday deepened Russia’s isolation by recommending that the country’s athletes and teams should be banned from global sports competitions.

Although the I.O.C. left exceptions for when changes in events were “not possible on short notice for organizational or legal reasons,” the committee’s move represented an escalation in international anger over the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The banishment should also apply to athletes from Belarus, the I.O.C. said in a statement, given that country’s participation in Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine.

“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,” the I.O.C. said in a statement, which referred to “a dilemma which cannot be solved.”

It was not immediately clear how the I.O.C.’s action would affect the Paralympic Games, which are scheduled to open this week in Beijing. Federations that govern individual sports will largely be responsible for enforcing any measures against Russian or Belarusian athletes. But the recommendation could give cover to organizations like FIFA, world soccer’s governing body, to take stronger action against Russia. FIFA has come under heavy pressure from its members to eject Russia from the qualifying tournament for the World Cup, a step it has so far resisted.

Russia and the I.O.C. have tangled in the past over the country’s illicit doping efforts. At this month’s Olympic Games, for example, Russian athletes did not compete under the Russian flag or the country’s name. Instead, its athletes were announced as representing the “Russian Olympic Committee,” a penalty that had no real effect on competitions themselves. When Russian athletes won medals, their national anthem was not played.

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