World Sailing allows Russians and Belarusians into Paris 2024 qualifiers. WORLDSAILING

World Sailing issued a press release announcing its decision to authorise the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes, provided they compete as Independent Neutral Athletes, making them eligible to compete in the Last Chance Regatta scheduled for 20-27 April in Hyères, France.

World Sailing has finally aligned itself with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) position on the inclusion of athletes from Russia and Belarus as independent neutral athletes. The decision was taken by the World Sailing Board at its meeting last Friday and will allow athletes with Russian or Belarusian passports to compete.

The decision by sailing's world governing body, which has been officially endorsed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), is in line with the IOC guidelines regarding the possibility of competing in the forthcoming Olympic Games under certain conditions. 

This includes Olympic Class competitions between the Last Chance Regatta and the Paris 2024 Olympic Games for those athletes who have qualified. These events will take place specifically on the waters of the Marseille Marina, which will host the sailing competition from 28 July to 8 August 2024.

The Last Chance Regatta qualifying event will be held in Hyères, in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, Var department, Toulon district (France), as part of the Semaine Olympique Francaise, from 20-27 April 2024. 

The organisation, which has 147 member national authorities, continues to advise against allowing athletes with Russian or Belarusian passports to compete in events or classes other than those specified above, as stated in the press release. 

As for the possibility of full inclusion in the future, the recommendation that athletes with Russian or Belarusian passports should not compete in non-Olympic events will be reviewed by the World Sailing Board as part of its quarterly cycle to consider the suspension of Russian and Belarusian officials. This process has been ongoing since March 2022, with the next review scheduled to take place on or before 22 February 2024.

The process for applying for Independent Neutral Athlete status will be announced in due course, with eligibility criteria including all IOC requirements for neutral participation. 

These decisions were taken by the World Sailing Board in consultation with the World Sailing Council and are part of the Federation's ongoing commitment to the Olympic Charter and the Olympic Movement. 

World Sailing also stressed in its statement that it "remains fully committed to supporting the sailing community in Ukraine at an unimaginably difficult time".