Russia, Belarus athletes may face Paris 2024 ban according to IOC's Reedie

The IOC issued guidance to sports governing bodies in February to remove athletes from Russia and Belarus from competition. Fabrice Coffrini / AFP

Athletes from Russia and Belarus may not be allowed to compete at the Paris 2024 Olympics because of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, senior International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Craig Reedie has said.

The IOC issued guidance to sports governing bodies in February to remove athletes from the two countries from competition. Belarus has been used as a staging ground for Russia's invasion, which Moscow calls a "special military operation."

"A decision is going to have to be taken on what happens to each of these two countries, and my guess is that the general feeling would be that they should not qualify," former IOC vice president Reedie told British media.

"Most people are struggling with how we could achieve some degree of representation, but at the moment, there is no clear way to do it. Therefore, you maintain the status quo."

Athletes will miss qualification events for Paris as a result of the measures, and IOC President Thomas Bach said in May that Russia's participation in the Olympics was unclear.

The IOC has not, however, sanctioned or banned Russian members who sit on the Committee from taking part in Olympic meetings and has not sanctioned the Russian Olympic Committee either.

Of the sports on the Olympic programme, only cycling, tennis and judo have allowed Russians and Belarusians to continue to compete, but Reedie said he doubted even athletes from those sports would be permitted to participate in qualifying events.

Reedie, who is also the former president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), said it would be unrealistic to allow athletes to enter qualifying competitions once they have begun.

"It's quite difficult halfway through to say, 'All of you who have now qualified, we've changed the rules'," Reedie said.

"So there's a real issue for the federations, who have a clear instruction which they've agreed to that they won't invite Russians and Belarusians to take part in events.

"On the face of it, it's unlikely that anybody would qualify other than those three sports which don't do it that way. And will they be able to qualify [from those three sports]? I'm not sure."