IPC Decision on NPC Russia and Belarus for Paris 2024 Paralympics
Author: International Paralympic Committee (IPC) - Contact: paralympic.org
Published: 2023/05/12 - Updated: 2023/09/29
Peer-Reviewed: N/A - Publication Type: Announcement / Notification
On This Page: Summary - Main Article - About/Author
Synopsis: International Paralympic Committee (IPC) decision on NPC Russia and Belarus to compete in Paralympic Games. Both NPCs were suspended by the IPC membership at an Extraordinary General Assembly in November 2022. However, a new decision by IPC members means Russian and Belarussian Para athletes can compete as individual and neutral athletes at the Paris 2024 Paralympics.
This page has been updated to reflect a recent decision by the IPC.
On 10 May, 2023, an IPC Independent Appeals Tribunal upheld on technical grounds, appeals from the National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) of Russia and Belarus regarding the suspension of their membership by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).
At an Extraordinary General Assembly on 16 November 2022, the IPC's member organizations voted to suspend both NPCs as members of the IPC based on their inability to comply with their membership obligations under the IPC Constitution.
NPC Russia and NPC Belarus appealed their suspension, and in-person hearings were held with the IPC's Independent Appeals Tribunal on 25 and 26 April, respectively, in Dubai, UAE.
The IPC Independent Appeals Tribunal did not decide on the merits of the two NPC suspensions, but instead determined that the General Assembly should have considered the same supporting evidence that the IPC put before the Appeals Tribunal, including new information that became available to the IPC after the General Assembly's decision in November 2022.
Although this issue was not raised by either party, the Appeals Tribunal did not wish to substitute itself for the IPC Membership which had voted to suspend the NPCs, and it therefore set aside the decision. As such, the full information and evidence available to the Appeals Tribunal will be put before the IPC's General Assembly in September, for its consideration.
Regarding this decision, IPC President Andrew Parsons said:
"Following the events that we saw unfold just before the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games, our members made it clear that the membership status of NPCs Russia and Belarus needed to be considered by the General Assembly. We believe that our actions taken to call the 2022 Extraordinary General Assembly in Berlin and allow every member the chance to present their views on these important matters, fulfilled our obligations under our rules. Our Independent Appeals Tribunal decided differently, which is a decision we certainly respect, but disagree with. As we already had committed to do, we will bring these matters back to our General Assembly later this year, follow the Appeal Tribunal's directions by presenting the additional evidence we have since acquired, and give our members the opportunity to decide these important matters."
The Appeals Tribunal also confirmed that the IPC's decision not to accept athlete entries from NPC Russia and NPC Belarus in the world and regional championships and sanctioned-level competitions of the six World Para Sports governed by the IPC, remains in force.
The next time the membership status of NPC Russia and NPC Belarus will be discussed is at the 2023 IPC General Assembly, which will be held in Bahrain between 28-29 September.
Update 29th September 2023 - IPC General Assembly Partially Suspends NPC Russia and NPC Belarus
The decision by IPC members means Russian and Belarussian Para athletes can compete as individual and neutral athletes at the Paris 2024 Paralympics.
The National Paralympic Committees of Russia and Belarus were both partially suspended by the IPC General Assembly in Manama, Bahrain, on Friday (29 September 2023) for breaches of their constitutional membership obligations.
IPC members voted 90-56 in favor of a motion to partially suspend NPC Russia (with six members abstaining), while 79-57 voted to partially suspend NPC Belarus (with nine members abstaining). For a motion to be passed, a 50%+ 1 result of all votes cast was required.
As a result of the General Assembly's decision all NPC Russia and NPC Belarus's membership rights are suspended for two years (subject to reassessment at the next ordinary General Assembly) with the exception that their athletes (and related support personnel) will be eligible to participate in an individual and neutral capacity (this means no teams) in the Paralympic Games and World and Regional Championships and sanctioned competitions in the six sports for which the IPC acts as international federation. In each case, this is subject to athletes and support personnel meeting such conditions of participation set by the IPC Governing Board. These conditions will be published in due course.
NPC Russia and NPC Belarus are also not allowed to organize any sport event/competition involving other IPC members.
The decision by IPC members to partially suspend NPC Russia and NPC Belarus is due to their inability to comply with their membership obligations, under the 2011 and 2022 versions of the IPC Constitution which govern both NPCs' activities.
Under the 2011 IPC Constitution, which covered activities up to and including 23 August 2022, obligations included:
- To 'ensure the organization of successful Paralympic Games' (Article 2.3.4)
- To promote Para sport 'without discrimination for political [...] reasons' (Article 2.2.2)
- To 'ensure that, in sport practiced within the Paralympic Movement, the spirit of fair play prevails, violence is banned, the health risk of the athletes is managed and fundamental ethical principles are upheld' (Article 2.3.8).
- Under the 2022 IPC Constitution which covers activities from 24 August 2023 onwards, ongoing obligations include:
- To 'be neutral and impartial in matters of politics' (Article 13.2.16).
- To 'respect, support, and promote' the objects of the IPC (Article 13.2.2), and 'not do anything (by act or omission) that is contrary to the purpose or objects of the IPC' (Article 13.2.26), including the objects of: (i) 'ensur[ing] that, in Para sport within the Paralympic Movement, the spirit of fair play prevails, the safety and health of the athletes are protected, and fundamental ethical principles are upheld' (Article 4.2.8); and (ii) 'respect[ing] the principle of political neutrality and impartiality' (Article 4.2.11).
- To 'manage its affairs autonomously and without improper interference from bodies outside the Paralympic Movement, including by ensuring that its operations are not influenced by any political, governmental or religious interference' (Article 13.2.15).
- To not do anything (by act or omission) 'that risks bringing the IPC, the Paralympic Movement, or Para sport into disrepute' (Article 13.2.26).
Andrew Parsons, IPC President, said:
"In reaching its decision, the IPC General Assembly was presented with evidence from the IPC, NPC Russia, and NPC Belarus, before a lengthy discussion took place. This provided an opportunity for IPC members to share their views on this subject."
"As this was a decision taken by the IPC General Assembly, I expect all IPC members to fully respect it. With the decision now behind us, I hope the focus as we lead-up to the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games can now be very much on sport and the performances of Para athletes."
Prior to the IPC General Assembly's decisions on partial suspension, IPC members first considered the full suspension of both NPCs. IPC members voted 74-65 (with 13 abstentions) against a motion to fully suspend NPC Russia, while the vote against fully suspending NPC Belarus was 74-56 (with 15 abstentions).
Both NPC Russia and NPC Belarus now have the right to appeal the decisions of the IPC General Assembly to the IPC independent Appeals Tribunal. Should any appeal not be upheld then the suspension will remain in place until reassessment at the 2025 IPC General Assembly.
The IPC member organizations permitted to vote at the IPC General Assembly include National Paralympic Committees, International Federations and International Organizations of Sport for the Disabled in good standing.
About the IPC
The IPC acts as the international federation for six Para sports: World Para Athletics, World Para Dance Sport, World Para Ice Hockey, World Para Powerlifting, World Shooting Para Sport and World Para Swimming. The IPC's vision is to make for an inclusive world though Para sport.
This quality-reviewed article relating to our Disability Sports News section was selected for publishing by the editors of Disabled World due to its likely interest to our disability community readers. Though the content may have been edited for style, clarity, or length, the article "IPC Decision on NPC Russia and Belarus for Paris 2024 Paralympics" was originally written by International Paralympic Committee (IPC), and published by Disabled-World.com on 2023/05/12 (Updated: 2023/09/29). Should you require further information or clarification, International Paralympic Committee (IPC) can be contacted at paralympic.org. Disabled World makes no warranties or representations in connection therewith.
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