Russia, Belarus booted from Paralympic governing body

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has voted to kick out Russia and Belarus with immediate effect, paving the way for the countries’ athletes to be barred from the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

As a result of their permanent suspension for their “inability to comply with their membership obligations under the IPC Constitution,” the National Paralympic Committees of Russia and Belarus “lose all rights and privileges of IPC membership,” the governing body said in a statement following an extraordinary general assembly in Berlin on Wednesday.

Under IPC rules, Paralympic committees must ensure that “the spirit of fair play prevails, the safety and health of the athletes are protected, and fundamental ethical principles are upheld.”

Athletes from the two countries had previously been banned from competing in the 2022 Winter Paralympics in March as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which Belarus has supported.

Russian athletes did compete in the 2022 Winter Olympics in February under a neutral banner, but the event took place before Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Olympic and Paralympic events are managed by two separate bodies.

The IPC ban can only be lifted by an other vote of all committees at the body’s next general assembly session, to be held in the second half of 2023.

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