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World Aquatics establishes task force to explore potential pathway for return of Russian and Belarusian athletes

The World Aquatics Bureau met today and gave its support to the statement made by the IOC Executive Board on 28 March 2023 regarding the potential future participation of athletes from Russia and Belarus in international competitions.

This statement followed the request from the majority of the Olympic movement stakeholders to the IOC to explore the potential return of athletes from Russia and Belarus to international sports events, based on the principles of the Olympic Charter.

The World Aquatics Bureau approved the establishment of a task force to explore a potential pathway for athletes with a Russian or Belarusian passport to participate in future international aquatics events as individual neutral athletes.

The task force, made up of athletes and representatives from across the aquatics community and chaired by Maureen Croes, the President of Panam Aquatics, will begin work immediately on developing a recommendation to the World Aquatics Bureau.

The World Aquatics Bureau notes that the task force will need to take time to come to its conclusions, and will report back at the next Bureau meeting in July 2023.

Previous World Aquatics Bureau Decisions on the Non-Invitation of Russian and Belarusian Athletes and Officials at World Aquatics Events

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the World Aquatics Bureau approved key measures to protect World Aquatics events and athlete welfare. These included the Bureau passing a new bylaw on 8 March 2022 that gave World Aquatics the power to review the participation of athletes and officials at World Aquatics events on a case-by-case basis in emergency situations, such as the current war in Ukraine.

On 23 March 2022, the World Aquatics Bureau made further decisions on Russian and Belarusian athletes and event hosting that included the confirmation that athletes and officials from Russia and Belarus could not take part at the World Aquatics Championships – Budapest 2022.

The World Aquatics Bureau’s decision to not invite athletes and officials from Russia and Belarus to World Aquatics events remains in effect today.

World Aquatics Reaffirms Commitment to Ukrainian Athletes

World Aquatics reaffirms its steadfast commitment and concern for Ukraine, notably on Ukrainian aquatics athletes impacted by the invasion of their country. Ukrainian aquatics athletes continue to receive support from World Aquatics and its partners, notably LEN and the Ukraine Swimming, Diving and Artistic Swimming Federations, for training and competition.

World Aquatics will continue to prioritise measures aimed at supporting the Ukrainian aquatics community, alongside national swimming federations, National Olympic Committees, the International Olympic Committee and LEN.

Credit: AIPS Media

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