IOC President Thomas Bach said Government opposition to the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes was "deplorable" ©Getty Images

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has slammed European Governments which have criticised the organisation's stance on Russia - calling them "deplorable".

The IOC Executive Board recommended on Tuesday (March 28) that individual athletes from Russia and Belarus should be allowed to return to international sport, as long as they do not support the invasion of Ukraine or are affiliated to the military.

However, some have reacted by saying this does not go far enough and have called for an outright ban, leading to a strong response from a fired-up Bach after the conclusion of the three-day Executive Board meeting in Lausanne today.

"It is deplorable to see that some Governments do not want to respect the majority within the Olympic Movement and all stakeholders, nor the autonomy of sport which they are appraising and requesting from other countries in countless speeches, UN resolutions, European Union declarations and at every other opportunity," the German official said.

"It is deplorable that these Governments do not address the question of double standards with which we have been confronted in our consultations.

"We have not seen a single comment on their attitude on the participation of athletes whose countries are involved in the other 70 wars and armed conflict in the world.

"It is even more deplorable that they grossly neglect the very clear statement of the two special rapporteurs from the UN Human Rights Council, while in other issues they are always highlighting their firm requests for the respect of human rights."

Bach claimed that stances from Governmental opponents had "strengthened the unity of the Olympic Movement".

A group of 35 nations last month expressed scepticism at the IOC's plans regarding Russia and Belarus.

Thomas Bach claimed that Governmental opposition to its plans on Russia and Belarus had
Thomas Bach claimed that Governmental opposition to its plans on Russia and Belarus had "strengthened the unity of the Olympic Movement" ©Getty Images

The British Government faced criticism from the IOC earlier this month after it wrote to members of The Olympic Partner programme, urging them to support a ban on both countries' athletes.

Earlier this week before the Executive Board meeting, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia argued there was "not a single reason" for the IOC to move away from its position outlined in February 2022 recommending the non-participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in international competitions.

In Russia, Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin has claimed the IOC was "creating additional obstacles" and said its stance was "unlawful", while Russian Olympic Committee President Stanislav Pozdnyakov branded the recommendations as a "farce".

Bach suggested that the IOC had been accused by Russia of being "agents of the United States" and by Ukraine of siding with Moscow.

"That both sides in this confrontation are not satisfied to say it diplomatically might indicate that we found some middle ground on which we all can move forward to make a contribution to understanding and peace through sport," the IOC President added.

"Today after all the responses we got, I can only reaffirm that the entire Olympic Movement strongly stands by its values and by its mission to unite the world in a peaceful competition."

The IOC has insisted the final decision on the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes rests with International Federations.

While the majority have followed its lead since the invasion of Ukraine, World Athletics last week banned competitors from both countries from its events "for the foreseeable future".