World Sailing has yet to make a decision on the reintroduction of Russian and Belarusian athletes ©Getty Images

World Sailing has revealed that it will make a decision on the readmission of Russian and Belarusian athletes as neutrals following its Council meeting scheduled to be held on May 18.

Athletes and officials from the two countries have been banned from attending World Sailing events since March last year following recommendations made by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in response to the war in Ukraine.

The IOC Executive Board has now proposed for International Federations to allow Russian and Belarusian competitors to return to the global sporting stage as individual neutral athletes, provided they do not support the invasion of Ukraine and are not affiliated to the military.

World Sailing has released a statement, saying that its Board "supports the fundamental principles of Olympism in the Olympic Charter and recognises that the principles guide the IOC's recommendations to allow the return of Russian and Belarusian competitors as independent neutral athletes" but insisted a decision would not be made until it holds its Council meeting next month.

"Given the broad diversity of sailing and given the strong views held by World Sailing’s member national authorities, the Board’s position is that the wider decision on the return to international sailing events will be made in consultation with the World Sailing Council at the mid-year meeting, to be held on May 18, 2023," a statement from World Sailing read. 

World Sailing has intentified next year's Semaine Olympique Française - the last Olympic qualifier - as the
World Sailing has intentified next year's Semaine Olympique Française - the last Olympic qualifier - as the "targeted opportunity" for Russian and Belarusian sailors to compete for a place at Paris 2024 depending on the IOC's ruling on participation at the Games ©Getty Images

"Following the Council meeting, the Board intend to make a decision, subject to World Sailing’s policies and regulations."

World Sailing also stressed that it was "wholly committed" to supporting Ukraine's sailing community through what it described as a "unimaginably difficult time".

The IOC's pulled back stance on Russia and Belarus comes at a time when many sports are conducting their qualification process for Paris 2024.

A total of 330 quota places are on offer in 10 sailing events for next year's Olympics, with 107 of those set to be awarded at the Sailing World Championships, due to be held from August 10 to 20 at The Hague in The Netherlands.

World Sailing said that as the IOC Executive Board had yet to consider the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes at Paris 2024, it had identified next year's Semaine Olympique Française as the "targeted opportunity for any potential readmission" to Olympic qualifying events.

The regatta is set to be held from April 18 to 27 in Hyeres in France and is due to be the last opportunity to secure a place at the Games, with the remaining spots in the windsurfing, kite, dinghy, skiff and mixed multihull all up for grabs.

Yesterday, World Triathlon became the latest IF to lift its ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes.

Skateboarding, table tennis, taekwondo and wrestling are among sports which have indicated that they will also adhere with the IOC’s recommendations.