Monday, 17 June 2024
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Latvia forbids national teams from competing as Belarus or Russia

  • The Latvian parliament decided to forbid its national teams from competing against Belarus and Russia.
  • The International Olympic Committee’s decision to allow just individual Russian or Belarusian athletes as neutrals without flags.
  • The law was passed by the Latvian Olympic Committee to demonstrate Latvia’s support for Ukraine.

To show support for Ukraine, the Latvian parliament decided on Thursday to forbid its national teams from competing against the national teams of Belarus and Russia, under whatever banner they may fly.

Following Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, which included Belarus, national and club teams from both countries are prohibited from participating in several international competitions.

Olympic Committee

The International Olympic Committee’s decision to allow just individual Russian or Belarusian athletes to compete as neutrals without flags would not impact Latvia’s participation in the Olympics in Paris, the country’s Olympic Committee has said.

The athletes from both countries, as well as persons, are still prohibited by the International Olympic Committee. The law was passed by the Latvian Olympic Committee to demonstrate Latvia’s support for Ukraine and to thwart any attempts by Russia to use the sports sector to justify war crimes.

In September, UEFA allowed Russian under-17 teams to compete again in European events. However, this decision was later overturned when boycott threats from other national teams, including the UK, were received.

In July, the prohibition on Ukraine participating in Olympic, non-Olympic, and Paralympic competitions alongside competitors from Belarus and Russia was loosened.

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