Russia says IPC ban on athletes 'absolutely politicised' but won't appeal

Russia’s Paralympic team to leave Beijing after International Paralympic Committee reversed early decision to let athletes compete as 'neutrals'

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Russia’s Paralympic team have decided to return home from Beijing after deciding not to appeal the decision to ban their athletes from competing.

The International Paralympic Committee on Wednesday reversed its decision to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete at the Games, which starts Friday.

The IPC had initially said those athletes could compete as "neutrals" despite the Russian invasion of Ukraine, aided and abetted by Belarus, but changed its mind amid fierce criticism and the threat of other countries staging a mass boycott.

On Friday the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) said it had considered lodging an appeal for an accelerated Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing but discovered that IPC statutes prevented it.

The RPC said it reserved the right to apply to the appropriate international and national courts “when the RPC considers it timely and necessary” but that the delegation would now be leaving China.

An RPC statement said the decision to exclude Russian Paralympians "is absolutely politicised" and "clearly tells everyone double standards, unfortunately, have become the norm for modern sports.

“The current situation also makes it clear to everyone: strong rivals, which the Russian team has always been and will be, are not needed today.

“After receiving the decision of the IPC on the non-admission of the team to the Games, the RPC involved leading Russian and foreign law firms to conduct a legal examination of the possibility of the RPC applying to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and obtaining a positive decision during the accelerated proceedings.

“Unfortunately, this is prevented by article 2.9 of the Paralympic Games Section of the IPC Rules, according to which the IPC ‘may, at its discretion, at any time, refuse any athlete entry, without indication of grounds’, as well as the absence in the IPC Constitution of an arbitration clause allowing the RPC to apply to CAS to resolve disputes.

“The Russian Paralympic Committee and its athletes currently do not consider it possible or expedient to stay in Beijing and are planning to leave the capital of the Winter Games, the city of wonderful people, in the near future.”

The Russian Football Union said on Thursday it had lodged an appeal to CAS against Fifa and Uefa's ban of its national teams and clubs from international football until further notice. The decision has effectively excluded Russia from the men’s World Cup and the Women’s European Championship later this year.

Fifa, world football's governing body, confirmed it had received a request from the Ukraine football association to postpone the World Cup qualifying semi-final play-off against Scotland on March 24 Russia’s invasion.

Updated: March 04, 2022, 10:48 AM