The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Monday recommended that sporting events ban athletes from Russia and Belarus. The call from the executive board of the committee comes after Moscow and Minsk breached the Olympic Truce by attacking and aiding the attack on Ukraine

“In order to protect the integrity of global sports competitions and for the safety of all the participants, the IOC EB recommends that International Sports Federations and sports event organisers not invite or allow the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials in international competitions,” IOC’s press release read. 

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The committee, that organises the modern Olympic Games, further stated that it strongly urges sports events worldwide ‘to do everything in their power to ensure that no athlete or sports official from Russia or Belarus be allowed to take part under the name of Russia or Belarus’. 

“Russian or Belarusian nationals, be it as individuals or teams, should be accepted only as neutral athletes or neutral teams. No national symbols, colours, flags or anthems should be displayed,” the statement continued.

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The International Olympic Committee further said that the war in Ukraine puts the Olympic Movement in a dilemma.

“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 IOC said it was needed to ‘protect the integrity of global sports competitions and for the safety of all the participants’. 

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The decision opened the way for FIFA, the governing body of soccer, to exclude Russia from a World Cup qualifying playoff match on March 24. Poland has refused to play the scheduled game against Russia.

The IOC also withdrew the Olympic Order it gave Vladimir Putin in 2001, and other Russian officials since.

Sports bodies across Europe had already moved against Russia on Monday by refusing to host or play against teams from the country.

Finland wants the Russian hockey team to be banned from the men’s world championships it will host in May, the Swiss soccer federation said its women’s team will not play Russia in July at the European Championship, and German soccer club Schalke said it had decided to end its longstanding partnership with Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom.