Russian athletes have been blocked from IBSF events since March 2022 because of the war in Ukraine ©Getty Images

The International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) has taken no decision on a return for Russian athletes at its Congress in the Spanish city of Barcelona.

Russian athletes have been suspended from IBSF competitions since the start of March last year because of the war in Ukraine, along with their counterparts from Belarus, although the country does not have a recognised National Federation.

Last year's Congress in the Swiss city of Lausanne ratified the ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes with a vote to change the statutes allowing the IBSF Executive Committee to "take protective measures in the event of unforeseen events."

The IBSF has confirmed to insidethegames no changes have been made to last year's decision.

Bobsleigh Federation of Russia President Anatoliy Pegov had told Russia's official state news agency TASS the issue of the return of their athletes was not voted on at this year's Congress.

"The Executive Committee has the right to lift the temporary suspension in part or in full as soon as it becomes reasonably appropriate, taking into account the assessment of the circumstances leading to the adoption of this measure," Pegov said.

"Unfortunately, the IBSF Executive Committee did not consider it possible to change this decision and bring it to today's Congress for consideration."

Pegov claimed the atmosphere at the Congress was "calm" despite "some negative attacks" towards Russia, and vowed athletes from his country would continue training domestically awaiting a return to international events.

IBSF President Ivo Ferriani is a member of the IOC Executive Board ©Getty Images
IBSF President Ivo Ferriani is a member of the IOC Executive Board ©Getty Images

The IBSF has been led by International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board member Ivo Ferriani of Italy since 2010.

The IOC controversially recommended in March that International Federations should lift outright bans on Russian and Belarusian athletes and allow those who have not supported the war in Ukraine and are not affiliated to the military to compete as neutrals.

The majority of International Federations have adhered to this, but bobsleigh and skeleton joins other sports led by IOC members in athletics and equestrian in maintaining its initial stance.

The IBSF also welcomed four new National Federations from Africa at its Congress in Lesotho, Tunisia, Sierra Leone and Ethiopia, while the bodies from Estonia and Argentina were "reactivated" with new athletes.

Altenberg in Germany for the bobsleigh events and St Moritz in Switzerland for the skeleton competitions were awarded the IBSF Junior World Championships for 2025 by delegates.

The next IBSF World Cup season is due to start in the Chinese resort of Yanqing from November 17 to 19.