Equestrian: FEI could reinstate Russians and Belarusians as neutrals. FEI

Banned from many sports but present as neutrals in others, such as tennis, Russian and Belarusian athletes are a step closer to returning to equestrian sport following a decision announced by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI).

"While the sanctions prohibiting international competitions to be held in Russia and Belarus remain in place, the FEI Board has decided to lift the protective measures to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes, horses, and officials to compete as neutrals. The conditions and timetable for implementation will be presented by the FEI Board at a teleconference in December 2023," the official release stated.

The International Equestrian Federation stressed: "At its face-to-face meeting in Mexico City on 18 November 2023, the FEI Board discussed in detail the protective measures on Russian and Belarusian athletes, horses and officials," which have been in place since 2 March 2022.

"The Board was informed of the latest position of the International Olympic Committee which had urged International Federations to consider the readmission of Russian and Belarusian athletes to international competitions under certain conditions, as well as the changed situation within other International Federations," the press release explained. 

"It was noted that since the protective measures were introduced more than 18 months ago, the situation in other sports has changed and Russian and Belarusian individual athletes have gradually resumed their participation in international sport as neutrals alongside Ukrainian athletes without significant disruption to the competitions," the press release concluded.

Marina Sechina, the president of the Russian Equestrian Federation
Marina Sechina, the president of the Russian Equestrian Federation

However, all of this will remain on hold until the FEI videoconference meeting, the date of which has yet to be decided as the world governing body for equestrian sport told Insidethegames. The meeting will determine the conditions and requirements for the return of Russian and Belarusian athletes to international equestrian competitions.

The FEI wanted to make it very clear to Insidethegames that, in the meantime, the sanctions banning the participation of Russians and Belarusians remain in place, as well as the ban on organising competitions for both countries, will remain in place until the aforementioned Board Teleconference takes place.