26 Jan 2023

EOC Update On Support For Ukrainian Team, Approach To Russian And Belarusian Participation

Categories: EOC

Following yesterday’s statement from the IOC, on solidarity with Ukraine, sanctions against Russia and Belarus, and the status of athletes from these countries, the EOC has released the following:

Statement from the EOC Executive Committee (ExCo):

The EOC continues to show its solidarity with Ukraine. 25 Ukrainian athletes are currently participating in the winter European Youth Olympic Festival Friuli Venezia Giulia 2023, with the full support of the EOC, and they have achieved notable successes. Following the IOC’s recommendations, the EOC has also maintained sporting sanctions against Russian government officials and symbols. Based on conditions around safety and security, no athletes from Russia or Belarus are currently participating.

With regard to the future participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in international competitions, the EOC appreciates the importance of removing barriers to sport serving as a unifying force. This especially applies to Europe, which serves to bring together diverse people of different nations. The EOC does not feel athletes should be prevented from competing solely on the basis of which passport they hold. The EOC reviewed the current status of Russian and Belarussian participation at its ExCo meeting of 21 January and will continue its efforts to explore possible solutions as per the consultation calls held with the IOC.

Statement on behalf of the EOC Athletes’ Commission:

Every athlete should start with the right to compete in a way that is safe and dignified. The European Athletes can be proud of the way the EOC has enabled Ukrainian athletes to do this.

Sport is also fairest when all eligible athletes have the chance to compete, and the EOC Athletes’ Commission will continue to discuss the right way for this to happen.


For the avoidance of doubt, any possible solutions with regard to the potential participation of athletes from Russia and Belarus in EOC competition would not include the European Games Krakow Malopolska 2023. As previously confirmed publicly by the EOC in Krakow in November 2022, any such participation is impossible under the current circumstances. Russian and Belarusian athletes will not take part in the European Games this year.