Dlike International Paralympic Committee (IPC) suspended Russia and Belarus at its General Assembly in Berlin with immediate effect. According to the announcement, the reason for this is that the national committees are currently not able to “meet the membership obligations under the IPC statutes”.
With 16 abstentions, there were 64 votes in favor and 39 votes against a suspension of the Russians. In the case Belarus the result was closer with 54:45 (with 18 abstentions). The Beijing Paralympic Games took place in the spring without Russian and Belarusian athletes because of the Ukraine war, after the IPC had admitted them as neutral athletes under the Paralympic flag before a reversal.
Appeal to “Spirit of Fair Play”
The commitments include “ensuring that the spirit of fair play prevails in sport within the Paralympic Movement, protecting the safety and health of athletes and upholding fundamental ethical principles,” the IPC statement said. Also “not to do anything (actively or by omission) contrary to the purpose or objectives of the IPC”.
“As IPC President, I want us to live in a world where sport unites the world in peaceful competition, allowing athletes to compete to the best of their ability against their rivals in a safe environment,” said Andrew Parsons. The situation in world sport is “highly explosive and complex. I hope and pray that the conflict in Ukraine will end as soon as possible, peace will be assured and no more innocent lives will be lost or harmed.”
The national committees Russia and Belarus can appeal the decision. If an objection is not upheld, only the General Assembly can lift the suspension. The next is scheduled for the last quarter of 2023.
Russia calls suspension ‘illegal’
The Russian Paralympic Committee (CPR), which claims to have been denied an entry visa to Germany, only took part in the meeting online. In a statement, the CPR criticized the suspension as “illegal” and “unreasonable”. It lacks “any legal basis and represents a gross violation of the entire legal framework.”
The IPC has not presented any evidence that the Russian Paralympic Committee violated any of the membership obligations under the provisions of the IPC Statutes. All allegations are therefore unfounded. Neither coaches nor athletes would have ever violated the Olympic Truce.