French President Emmanuel Macron said there is a "consensus" there should be no Russian flag at Paris 2024 ©Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed Russia's flag will not be at next year's Olympic Games in Paris, but claimed he had "complete confidence" in International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach regarding a decision on individual athletes' participation.

Russia and its ally Belarus' participation at Paris 2024 is one of the key issues in the build-up to the Games, after the IOC controversially lifted an outright ban on both countries' athletes at international competitions in March in favour of allowing them to compete as individual neutrals where they do not support the war in Ukraine and are not affiliated to the military.

However, the IOC has stressed both countries' flags, anthems and symbols should remain banned, and says a decision has not been taken on both countries' inclusion at Paris 2024.

Russia and Belarus, along with Guatemala which is the only National Olympic Committee suspended by the IOC, were not among the 203 nations invited to Paris 2024 in July one year before the Olympics are due to start.

While the majority of International Federations have adhered to the IOC's updated recommendations, some including athletics and equestrian led by IOC members have maintained their initial stances.

Russian and Belarusian athletes have also faced some difficulty competing at Paris 2024 qualifiers, including a ban from the Kraków-Małopolska 2023 European Games and their participation at the delayed Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games proving unfeasible.

French President Emmanuel Macron, right, claimed he has
French President Emmanuel Macron, right, claimed he has "complete confidence" in IOC President Thomas Bach, left, regarding a decision on Russian and Belarusian athletes at Paris 2024 ©Getty Images

Speaking to French newspaper L'Équipe, Macron promised Russia's flag would not be allowed at Paris 2024 due to the war in Ukraine, but provided no indication on whether he felt athletes from Russia and Belarus should compete.

"I think there is a consensus, because Russia as a country has no place at a time when it has committed war crimes, when it deports children," the French President said.

Macron claimed "is not the host state that should decide what the IOC should do" regarding whether to invite Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete as neutrals, but affirmed his "complete confidence" in German official Bach.

He added "the real question that the Olympic world will have to decide is what place to give to these Russian athletes who sometimes have prepared for a lifetime, and can also be the victims of this regime".

Macron described this as a "balancing act" and urged understanding from Ukraine.

The IOC says it has not taken a final decision on the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes at Paris 2024 ©Getty Images
The IOC says it has not taken a final decision on the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes at Paris 2024 ©Getty Images

Bach has previously praised Macron for supporting "athletes from all countries, sometimes including countries at war" being able to compete at major events.

Officials in Ukraine have slammed the IOC for allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to return to international sport as neutrals and threatened a boycott if they are present at Paris 2024, arguing there should be no place for either country under any banner while the war remains ongoing.

Macron faced criticism from Kyiv last year after claiming that Russia would need security guarantees as part of future negotiations to end the war, and he appears to have taken a softer stance towards Vladimir Putin than many of his Western counterparts, although France has backed European Union sanctions against Russia and provided military aid to Ukraine.

The International Paralympic Committee is set to decide on whether Russian and Belarusian athletes can compete at the Paris 2024 Paralympics at its General Assembly in Bahrain on September 28 and 29.