Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Russia and Belarus ban a protective measure not a sanction – Thomas Bach

IOC president Thomas Bach says Russian and Belarusian athletes are being excluded from sports events as a protective measure (Andrew Milligan/PA)
IOC president Thomas Bach says Russian and Belarusian athletes are being excluded from sports events as a protective measure (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The recommendation to bar Russian and Belarusian athletes from international sport was a “protective measure” rather than a sanction, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach has said.

Athletes from those countries have largely been excluded from events organised by international sports federations recognised by the IOC since the recommendation was issued on February 28, four days after Russia invaded Ukraine abetted by Belarus.

Russia has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against the decision by football’s world and European governing bodies, FIFA and UEFA, to exclude the country’s national teams and clubs from their competitions.

However, Bach said the decision had been taken to ensure the athletes’ safety, and was not to be considered a sanction or politically motivated.

“Let me emphasise again that these are protective measures – not sanctions – measures to protect the integrity of competitions,” he said in a speech to the IOC Session on Friday.

“The safety of the Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials could not be guaranteed because of the deep anti-Russian and anti-Belarusian feelings in so many countries following the invasion.”

He said the IOC could not in this case, and would never, bar athletes on political grounds.

“There are governments who are putting public and political pressure on national Olympic committees and national sports federations,” Bach said.

“Today it is Russia and Belarus, but if we do not act, tomorrow it will be the government from country A not wanting athletes from country B to participate.

“Or government C demanding its athletes not to compete against athletes from country D and so on and so forth.

“This would be a situation that is contrary to all the principles we are based on. If it is in the hands of politicians to decide who can take part in which competition, then the non-discriminatory foundation of our global sports system is gone. This would be the full politicisation of sport.

“This was and this is our dilemma. Because of this dilemma, we had to take these protective measures – albeit with a very heavy heart.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin has had the Olympic Order withdrawn
Russian President Vladimir Putin has had the Olympic Order withdrawn (Alexander Nemenov/AP)

He said the IOC was “monitoring closely” those who show support for the war with their statements and “will draw the necessary consequences”.

He highlighted the sanctions handed down by the international federations of gymnastics and swimming to Russian competitors.

He later added that no decision had yet been taken on Russian athletes’ participation in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, and said the IOC would have to take things “step by step”.

The German said at a press conference on Friday afternoon: “We do not know how the political situation evolves and how the war evolves. We hope that there will be peace soon, and hopefully as soon as possible. But we can just monitor the situation.”

Bach did describe the decision to recommend Russia and Belarus be stripped of hosting rights for international sports events, and the withdrawal of the Olympic Order awarded to Russian president Vladimir Putin, as a sanction.

There has been criticism for the fact that Russian officials Yelena Isinbayeva and Shamil Tarpischev have been allowed to remain as IOC members.