IOC President Thomas Bach has said the IOC will not budge on Russia or Belarus for now ©Getty Images

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has said the organisation's stance on excluding athletes and officials from Russia and Belarus remains unchanged as the war in Ukraine continues.

In an interview with German publication Sport Bild, Bach said that while the war continues, there can be no change in its recommendations.

"This is not the time to change recommendations or attitudes," said the IOC President.

"We still do not recommend inviting Russian or Belarusian athletes to competitions, still no anthems, no flags, no national colours."

Throughout the interview Bach was supportive of those who backed the recommendations, but also warned that national Governments or event organisers should not be restricting these athletes, who are able to compete by the International Federation.

An example of this is Wimbledon, which followed directives from the United Kingdom Government and banned players from Russia and Belarus from competing at the Grand Slam, leading to fines from the Women's Tennis Association.

Players from Russia and Belarus were banned from competing at Wimbledon ©Getty Images
Players from Russia and Belarus were banned from competing at Wimbledon ©Getty Images

"I am grateful to the International Federations for following us," Bach added.

"That athletes who support the war, who appear or advertise with the infamous 'Z' are sanctioned, that's how it happened. 

"Otherwise, we are currently in an unsolvable dilemma: Our task in such a situation would actually be to bring the athletes together and to show that there is also peaceful competition. 

"But here we are in a situation where some governments have made the decisions about who can and cannot enter an international competition.

"This is totally against our rules and against our mission. 

"You know exactly how tense and how confrontational the geopolitical situation is, not only with regard to Russia and Belarus. 

"Governments will decide tomorrow, the athletes from this or that country are not welcome either. 

"Then the sport would be part of the sanctions and counter-sanctions system that is very common at the moment."

The invasion of Ukraine started on February 24 by Russia - with border assistance by Belarus - and on February 28, the IOC recommended the banning of athletes and officials from these countries in response to the war.