The International Paralympics Committee has voted against a full ban on Russian and Belarus athletes in the context of ongoing aggression against Ukraine. The Committee’s decision permits the athletes to contest in the upcoming Paris Paralympics as neutrals.
In a statement, the IPC said, “The National Paralympic Committee of Russia was partially suspended by the IPC General Assembly in Manama, Bahrain for breaches of its constitutional membership obligations.”
“IPC members voted 90-56 in favour of a motion to partially suspend NPC Russia,” it said. IPC said as part of the committee’s decision, NPC Russia’s membership has been suspended for two years and Russian athletes would be able to contest in paralympic championships in individual capacity. “Athletes (and related support personnel) will be eligible to participate in an individual and neutral capacity (this means no teams) in the Paralympic Games and World and Regional Championships and sanctioned competitions in the six sports for which the IPC acts as international federation,” it said.
The Committee decision also bars NPC Russia from hosting any sports event involving other member countries. "As this was a decision taken by the IPC General Assembly, I expect all IPC members to fully respect it. With the decision now behind us, I hope the focus as we lead-up to the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games can now be very much on sport and the performances of Para athletes,” Reuters quoted IPC President Andrew Parsons as saying.
IPC suspended the paralympic committees of both countries last year and banned their athletes from competing following the Ukraine war. The countries can appeal against the IPC Assembly’s decision with the IPC Independent Appeals Tribunal. However, if the appeals aren’t upheld, then the decision will be reassessed only in 2025.