The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) suspended Russia and Belarus at its General Assembly in Berlin with immediate effect.

    According to the announcement, the reason for this is that the national committees are currently not in a position to “meet the membership obligations under the IPC statutes”.

    With 16 abstentions, there were 64 votes in favor and 39 votes against a suspension of the Russians. In the case of Belarus, the result was closer at 54:45 (with 18 abstentions). The Beijing Paralympic Games took place in the spring without Russian and Belarusian athletes because of the Ukraine war, after the IPC had admitted them as neutral athletes under the Paralympic flag before a reversal.

    The commitments include “ensuring that the spirit of fair play prevails in sport within the Paralympic Movement, protecting the safety and health of athletes and upholding fundamental ethical principles,” the IPC statement said. Also “not to do anything (actively or by omission) contrary to the purpose or objectives of the IPC”.

    “As IPC President, I want us to live in a world where sport unites the world in peaceful competition, allowing athletes to compete to the best of their ability against their rivals in a safe environment,” said Andrew Parsons.

    The situation in world sport is “highly explosive and complex. I hope and pray that the conflict in Ukraine will end as soon as possible, that peace will be secured and that no more innocent lives will be lost or affected.”

    The NPCs from Russia and Belarus can appeal the decision. If an objection is not upheld, only the General Assembly can lift the suspension. The next is scheduled for the last quarter of 2023.

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