The International Olympic Committee will send out invitations for the 2024 Paris Olympics later this month, but Russia and Belarus will be among the nations that will not be included.
The IOC announced Thursday that while a formal decision regarding the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes at next year’s Summer Games has yet to be made, the two nations will not be sent formal invitations when the more than 200 eligible national Olympic committees (NOCs) receive theirs on July 26.
“The IOC will take this decision at the appropriate time, at its full discretion, and without being bound by the results of previous Olympic qualification competitions,” a statement read.
“The invitations to the 203 eligible NOCs will be sent on 26 July 2023. For the reasons given, this will exclude the NOCs of Russia and Belarus, plus the NOC of Guatemala, which is currently suspended.”
Following the war in Ukraine, the IOC urged international sports bodies to bar Russian and Belarusian athletes from competition. Many did, while others allowed them to compete under a neutral banner.
More than a year later, the IOC has now been working to support a pathway to allow some of those athletes to qualify for Paris by competing as neutral, a recommendation made by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA).
But the decision has created a divide by the opposing sides, which the IOC described as “two irreconcilable positions.”
“The Russian side wants the IOC to ignore the war. The Ukrainian side wants the IOC to totally isolate anyone with a Russian and Belarusian passport. Both positions are diametrically opposed to the IOC’s mission and the Olympic Charter.”
The IOC also took a strong stance against the “negative reaction” from “some” European governments that opposed their goal of resolution between the two sides.
“It is deplorable to see that some governments do not want to respect the majority within the Olympic Movement or the autonomy of sport which they are requesting from other countries, and are praising in countless speeches and UN and European Union resolutions.
“It is deplorable that these governments do not address the question of double standards with which we were confronted in the consultation calls.”
The statement continued: “We have not seen a single comment from them about their attitude towards the participation of athletes whose countries are involved in the other 70 wars, armed conflicts and crises in the world.”
According to a Reuters report, IOC President Thomas Bach will address the topic with the media next week.
The IOC’s position on Guatemala differs from its stance on Russia and Belarus. The country was suspended from the Olympic movement last year because of alleged government interference with the independence of the NOC there.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.