The General Assembly of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has allowed Russian and Belarusian Paralympic athletes to compete in an individual and neutral capacity at the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris. This is stated in a statement from the press service of the sports organization.
The IPC General Assembly also decided to partially suspend the Paralympic Committees of Russia and Belarus from participation in competitions due to violation of its constitutional obligations of membership. This ban will be in effect for two years.
“Due to the partial disqualification, the PCs of Russia and Belarus lose all membership rights to the IPC, however their athletes have the right to participate in an individual and neutral capacity at the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris,” the IPC said.
In addition to the Paralympic Games, Russian and Belarusian athletes will be allowed to participate in the World and European Championships, as well as competitions in six sports in which the IPC acts as an international federation. “In each case, this is possible subject to the athletes and support staff complying with the conditions of participation established by the IPC,” the organization clarified.
“As this decision was taken by the IPC General Assembly, I expect that all IPC members will fully respect it. With the decision already made, I hope that in the run-up to the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris, the focus can now be on the sport and the performance of Paralympians.” , said IPC President Andrew Parsons.
In turn, Olympic champion in speed skating and State Duma deputy Svetlana Zhurova called the decision of the IPC “decorative.” “I don’t yet understand whether it’s worth participating in a neutral status. Maybe they will force or not force you to sign something. Or like now with UEFA, when countries began to boycott, and some organizers say they won’t let you into the country. There must be guarantees but no one gives them,” she noted in a comment to TASS.
On September 27, UEFA allowed Russian youth teams (players under 17 years old) to participate in international competitions this season, but with the condition: all matches with the participation of Russian teams must be held without the country’s flag, anthem, national playing uniform and not on Russian territory. In response, football federations of several European countries, including Ukraine, England, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Sweden, announced that they would boycott competitions where Russian youth teams would take part.
In May of this year, the Appeals Tribunal of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) “for technical reasons” overturned the decision to suspend the membership of the Paralympic Committees of Russia and Belarus, which was made in November last year. Then the President of the Russian Paralympic Committee, Pavel Rozhkov, called this decision illegal, pointing out that the IPC “did not provide a single piece of evidence of violations of the organization’s charter.”
At the beginning of March 2022, the International Paralympic Committee did not allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate in the Games in Beijing. The IPC press service reported that many national committees, teams and athletes refused to compete with Russians and Belarusians.
International federations previously banned Russian athletes from participating in international competitions in biathlon, volleyball, swimming, figure skating and speed skating. All of these decisions were related to the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops.