Russian and Belarusian Athletes, Horses, and Officials To Return to Competition as Neutrals

Sun, 11/19/2023 - 15:47
Russian flag on a saddle pad :: Photo © Astrid Appels

At the 2023 FEI General Assembly in Mexico City, the FEI Board has taken the decision to allow Russian and Belarusian Athletes, Horses and Officials back into FEI sport despite the invasion of Russia into Ukraine and the on-going war there.

The FEI communicated the following on 19 November 2023:

Whilst the sanctions prohibiting international competitions to be held in Russia and Belarus remain in place, the FEI Board has decided to lift protective measures to allow future participation of Russian and Belarusian Athletes, Horses and Officials as neutrals. The conditions and timeline for implementation will be put forward for approval by the FEI Board during a teleconference in December 2023.

The FEI Board discussed the protective measures at length during its in-person meeting on 18 November 2023 in Mexico City, which had been imposed on Russian and Belarusian Athletes, Horses and Officials on 2 March 2022 following the full-scale military invasion of Ukraine. 

The Board was updated on the latest position of the International Olympic Committee which had urged International Federations to consider re-admitting Russian and Belarusian Athletes to international competitions under certain conditions and the changed situation among other International Federations. It was noted that since the protective measures had been introduced over 18 months ago, the situation in other sports has changed and Russian and Belarusian individual athletes have gradually resumed participation in international sport as neutrals alongside Ukrainian athletes without significant disruption to the competitions. 

The Board noted that the original protective measures were put in place further to the recommendation of the International Olympic Committee however, it was acknowledged that the measures currently in place may no longer fulfil a protective role and, therefore, had to be reconsidered. 

The FEI Headquarters was tasked by the Board with establishing the conditions and timeline allowing individual Russian and Belarusian Athletes, Horses and Officials to resume participation in FEI Events as neutrals. In the meantime, Russian and Belarusian Athletes, Horses and Officials remain ineligible to participate in FEI Events.

The Board took the opportunity to reiterate its full support to the people of Ukraine, who have suffered and continue to suffer tremendously, and pledged its continued solidarity and support to the Ukrainian equestrian community through the FEI Solidarity Relief Fund.

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