Ukrainian athletes impacted by any Government-imposed boycotts of competitions involving Russians would benefit from Olympic Solidarity funding, the IOC has said ©Getty Images

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has pledged to provide Olympic Solidarity funding to any Ukrainian athletes affected by their National Olympic Committee’s proposal to ban them from international competitions in which Russian and Belarusian athletes are taking part.

The IOC has also said the Ukrainian Government’s preparations to strip its national sports federations of status and funding if any of their athletes compete in international events involving Russians or Belarusians would "hurt only the Ukraine athletic community."

The adjustments to the IOC’s position were indicated yesterday through amendments to its online question and answer section.  

The latest offer of Olympic Solidarity funding was made with reference to a statement by the Ukrainian Tennis Federation on March 21 in response to the National Olympic Committee (NOC)’s possible ban on its players competing in events where Russian athletes were taking part.

Just recently, the IOC answer read: "The Ukrainian Tennis Federation said in a statement: 'With this appeal, we express a common position regarding the possible decision of the NOC on a complete boycott by the players of all international tournaments where Russians or Belarusians play.

"Such a decision will lead to the destruction of Ukrainian tennis, because players from these countries take part in almost every competition, and will become a sanction not against the Russians, but against the Ukrainians.

The Ukrainian Tennis Federation has warned that tennis in the country could be
The Ukrainian Tennis Federation has warned that tennis in the country could be "destroyed" if the country's NOC bans players from competing against Russian and Belarusian opponents ©Getty Images

"If Russians and Belarusians are allowed to compete, you need to play with them and win, and not avoid the battle.’

"The IOC has always followed and will also follow in this case its policy to protect the athletes.

Therefore, if this was implemented, the athletes who want to compete and would lose the support of their National Sports Federation and their National Olympic Committee because of Government interference, could count on the direct support of the Olympic Movement’s Solidarity Fund for the Olympic community of Ukraine and the athletes’ support programmes of the IOC."

Ukrainian Sports Minister and NOC President Vadym Gutzeit cast doubt last month on the IOC's claim that its Solidarity Fund has benefited approximately 3,000 athletes and coaches from the country.

The IOC has said its Solidarity Fund totalling $7.5 million (£6.2 million/€7 million) is being used to allow Ukrainian athletes to continue training and competing at major events.

Gutzeit said that about $1.5 million (£1.2 million/€1.4 million) to $2 million (£1.7 million/€1.9 million) was provided to the federation and to the athletes who are preparing, adding: "It is difficult to say that this is the support of 3,000 athletes, because it is not enough."

Meanwhile Ukraine’s Sports Ministry has announced that a draft resolution has been drawn up over the sanctioning of its National Federations in the event that they compete against Russian and Belarusian opposition.

"This raises serious questions about the autonomy of Ukrainian sport," the IOC said in its answer to a question on this topic.

"If implemented, such a decision would a) hurt only the Ukrainian athlete community and the National Sports Federations, and in no way impact the war that the world wants to stop, and that the IOC has so vehemently condemned.

"The IOC has always maintained that it is not up to Governments to decide which athletes can participate in which international competitions.

"If implemented, such a decision would b) also go against the position of a number of Ukrainian athletes and other members of the Ukrainian Olympic community."