Update on status of neutral athletes from Russia and Belarus (April 2023)
During its meeting held in a hybrid format on 20 April 2023, the World Archery executive board discussed in detail the recommendations of the International Olympic Committee to assess a pathway for the return of neutral athletes holding a Russian or Belarussian passport to individual international competition.
The board expressed its support and agreed to explore a timeline for the return of these athletes under strict conditions of eligibility, permitting only the reintegration of individuals able to prove neutrality through an independent review process. Further information on this procedure will be provided to delegates at the next World Archery Congress.
The board noted that only individual and not any form of team participation was considered by the executive board of the International Olympic Committee, which mirrored an explicit request from the World Archery athletes committee.
The current measures prohibiting the participation of Russian and Belarussian athletes in international archery events were introduced in February 2022 following a previous recommendation of the International Olympic Committee’s executive board in respect of the principles of the Olympic Charter and to guarantee the safety of all athletes participating in World Archery events.
There are also sanctions preventing the hosting of events in the countries and the use of the national flags and anthems of Russia and Belarus at all competitions, which will remain in place.
World Archery will work in consultation with the International Olympic Committee and the Association for Summer Olympic International Federations to finalise the independent review process necessary to ensure the return of only neutral individuals to events. This process will include an assessment of any link between the individual and the military and security forces.
A working group, which will include independent representation, will be established to develop and implement the timeline for this procedure.
The executive board also expressed its requirement for a clear commitment from World Archery’s member associations in Russia and Belarus to cooperate with the process by providing accurate information on individuals when requested, and guarantee that any neutral athlete or support staff would not be subject to sanctions now or in the future.
The board reaffirmed its solidarity with Ukraine and full support for the Ukrainian archery community in the face of the ongoing war with Russia, and emphasised that proof of neutrality is a mandatory prerequisite for any individual to return to a World Archery event