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Sports ministers say Russia's participation in international sports cannot be reconsidered at this time

Ministry of Education and Culture
Publication date 4.5.2023 15.34
News item

Ministers of sport from 36 countries have issued a fourth collective statement on the exclusion of Russia and Belarus from international sports.

According to the ministers, Russia, which has broken the Olympic Truce, must not use sports to justify its invasion of Ukraine, and Belarus must not use sports to justify its participation in Russia's war of aggression.

In a press release of 28 March 2023, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) described its new recommendations on Russian and Belarusian participation in international sports. The IOC decided to keep in place the sanctions against Russia and Belarus but said that international sports federations could allow Russian and Belarusian citizens to compete as Individual Neutral Athletes if they met strict conditions of participation.

Although the IOC has addressed some of the concerns raised by the ministers in their statement of 21 February 2023, the ministers say that significant issues remain, including those concerning the links between the athletes and the military.

The ministers respect the right of athletes to be treated without discrimination and emphasise that the statement is not about discrimination on the basis of nationality and passport but about ensuring fair competition. The ministers reiterate their view that Russian and Belarusian athletes must not in any way present themselves in competitions as representatives of their countries, which is also seen as the aim of the IOC recommendations.  

According to the statement, the implementation of the recommendations issued by the IOC and international sports federations will be closely monitored in the coming weeks. The ministers have signed three earlier statements on the impact of Russia's war of aggression on international sports. 


Albania, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Latvia    , Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom and United States of America.

4th statement on Russia's war on Ukraine and international sport

Tiina Kivisaari, Director, tel. +358 295 330 178
Satu Heikkinen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 330 102

More information

Ministry of Education and Culture 21 February 2023: Sports Ministers: Exclusion of Russian and Belarusian athletes from international competition should continue
Ministry of Education and Culture 8 February 2023: Nordic and Baltic sports ministers meet
Ministry of Education and Culture 1 November 2022: EU Sports Ministers condemn Russian aggression against Ukraine
Ministry of Education and Culture 8 July 2022: Meeting of Sport Ministers:Russia and Belarus to be suspended from international sports federations
Ministry of Education and Culture 9 March 2022: Sports Ministers of 37 countries:Russia and Belarus should be excluded from international sports

Related links

(IOC Press Release 28 March 2023) Following a request by the 11th Olympic Summit, IOC issues recommendations for International Federations and international sports event organisers on the participation of athletes with a Russian or Belarusian passport in international competitions