European Athletics Stands Firm on Ban of Russian and Belarusian Athletes

The decision by the European Athletics Council comes amid ongoing debates on the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in international sporting events

Dobromir Karamarinov in a file photo (Image Credits - European Athletics)
By Abhiruchi Rout | Mar 20, 2023 | 2 Min Read follow icon Follow Us


The European Athletics Council has decided once more to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes, officials, and support staff from taking part in any of its competitions and activities. During the invasion of Ukraine, the prohibition was implemented last year. The council, which gathered in Lausanne, Switzerland, before the 2023 Congress next month, emphasised that the ban will remain in effect until the conflict in Ukraine is resolved. Dobromir Karamarinov, the president of European Athletics, indicated that the council had not altered its stance and will continue to support the Athletics Federation of Ukraine in order to help athletes from that nation still reach their full potential despite the unfortunate circumstances in Ukraine.

The European Athletics Council’s choice was made in the midst of ongoing discussions about Russian and Belarusian competitors competing in international athletic competitions. According to rumours, the International Olympic Committee might permit Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate in the Paris 2024 Games as neutrals. However, European Athletics’ choice to maintain its ban sends a clear message to the world of sports that the federation is still committed to its ideals and beliefs.

The COVID-19 outbreak has caused considerable hurdles for Asian Games organizers, in addition to other athletic events throughout the world. But,  there is optimism that the event may be held effectively and safely because to China’s relaxation of its rules and the introduction of immunizations. A variety of precautions, such as routine testing, quarantine procedures, and limitations on fan attendance, have been put in place by the organizers to guarantee the health and safety of every participant.

Read more: Olympic Council of Asia supports return of Russia and Belarus

What is the take of other councils on allowing Russia and Belarus athletes?

The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) Athletes’ Forum adopted an ordinance concerning Russian and Belarussian athletes competing in international competitions just a week after European Athletics’ statement. 88 participants from 43 different countries took part in the conversation at the forum, which was private. Athletes shouldn’t be penalized for the decisions taken by their governments, according to the OCA, and they should be permitted to participate internationally without encountering any bias. But, the OCA has also established explicit rules, such as no national flags or anthems, to ensure that athletes from Russia and Belarus compete entirely as neutrals.

Read more: IOC urges UK to prioritize ‘Sports Autonomy’ in Russia dispute