Russian and Belarussian biathletes to compete as neutral athletes in IBU events

The Executive Board of the International Biathlon Union (IBU) met via video call to discuss the war in Ukraine and its implications for the biathlon family.

The IBU strongly condemns the Russian attacks on Ukraine and expresses its deepest sympathies for all those affected. Ukraine is a country with a great biathlon tradition and fanbase and the IBU stands in solidarity with them. We sincerely hope a peaceful resolution can be found to put an end to the current conflict and suffering.

The IBU is in continuous dialogue with the National Federation of Ukraine and has offered practical support to the Ukrainian biathlon family in this international crisis. The Ukrainian biathlon team has already informed the IBU that it will not participate in any of the remaining competitions in the World Cup or the IBU Cup this season. Still, the Ukrainian flag will be raised at the events to honor the Ukrainian team.  

The EB decided that, once the situation allows for participation in biathlon training and competitions again, the IBU will support the Ukrainian athletes and federation financially, logistically and from a technical sports perspective.

Following the IOC Executive Board’s request yesterday afternoon, the IBU EB decided to further elaborate on the IOC’s recommendations to ensure that national symbols of Russia and Belarus are not present at IBU events. The IBU will not allow representation of Russia and Belarus at its remaining World Cup and IBU Cup events. However, the IBU will invite individual athletes from these nations to compete as neutral athletes. The measures include but are not limited to:

  • No Russian or Belarussian flags, symbols or national emblems can be displayed at the venue. Instead of the countries´ flags the IBU flag shall be displayed.

  • The Russian and Belarussian team clothing incl. competition suits shall be neutral in colors and design and not display any national emblem or flag

  • The Russian and Belarussian anthem will not be played at IBU events.

  • The Neutral athletes and relays cannot score Nation Cup or Relay Score points

At the currently ongoing Youth and Junior World Championships in Soldier Hollow (USA) in which no Belarussian nor Ukrainian athletes compete, no Russian flag will be displayed and the Russian anthem will not be used in line with the principles stated above.

The IBU is in close contact with the organisers of the final BMW IBU World Cup events this season in Kontiolahti (FIN), Otepää (EST) and Oslo (NOR) to understand any consequences on the implementation of the events. As of now, the events in Kontiolahti and Oslo can go ahead with Russian and Belarussian teams being able to enter the country.

The Estonian government confirmed to the organisers and the National Federation that the event can be held, but announced that Russian and Belarussian teams are not allowed to take part. The IBU Executive Board took note of this decision and decided that the event will go ahead in Otepää. The same would apply if the Norwegian and Finnish host (for the World Cups) or Swiss and Italian hosts (for IBU Cups) would implement similar restrictions.

  On behalf of the entire biathlon family, the EB reiterated its hope for an immediate end of the war and a safe return of Ukrainian biathletes next season, especially those who have been drafted to the military.  

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