Russian athletes allowed to compete as neutrals at next year’s Paralympics

By Sports Desk September 29, 2023

Russian athletes will be able to compete as neutrals at next year’s Paralympic Games in Paris despite the country’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

International Paralympic Committee member nations voted against a full suspension of the Russian committee at the organisation’s General Assembly in Bahrain, but a motion to partially suspend was passed on Friday afternoon.

The decision means Russian athletes will be able to compete in Paris next summer, provided they do not wear kit or fly the flag of Russia.

The partial suspension will mean Russia will be barred from team events, and entry in any Paralympic discipline will be subject to approval from the relevant international sports federation.

IPC member nations had voted 74-65 against a full suspension for Russia, with 13 abstentions.

Russia can appeal against the partial suspension, with the IPC set to hold similar votes regarding Belarus’ Paralympic committee later in the day.

The IPC decision comes in the same week that UEFA’s executive committee passed a motion supporting the return of Russian teams to Under-17 boys’ and girls’ competitions.

The Football Association has already said it will refuse to allow England teams to play against Russia at this or any other level while the Ukraine invasion continues.

The International Olympic Committee could make a decision on Russian participation in next summer’s Olympic Games at its session in Mumbai next month.

The IOC has issued a set of recommendations to international sports federations setting out conditions under which Russian athletes may be able to compete in qualifying events.

IOC president Thomas Bach has been adamant that athletes should not be discriminated against simply on the basis of the passport they hold.

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