Flag, anthem and rules for Individual Neutral Athletes approved for Paris 2024. IOC

This afternoon in Lausanne, Switzerland, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) adopted special rules for the participation of Individual Neutral Athletes (INAs) with Russian or Belarusian passports at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The IOC Executive Board has established an Individual Neutral Athlete Eligibility Review Panel (AINERP) to assess the eligibility of each athlete with a Russian or Belarusian passport who qualifies or could qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. 

The panel consists of three members: Nicole Hoevertsz, IOC Vice-President, who will chair the panel, Pau Gasol, representative of the IOC Ethics Commission and Seung Min Ryu, representative of the IOC Athletes' Commission. The work of the AINERP will be supported by Mrs Paquerette Girard Zappelli, IOC Director of Ethics and Compliance, who will act as secretary of the panel.

The IOC Executive Board was informed that 12 INAs with Russian passports and seven INAs with Belarusian passports have currently qualified for the Games. Out of the 6,000 allocated places, only 19 are currently in this group, but experts currently estimate that in the most likely scenario, at least 36 INAs with Russian passports and 22 INAs with Belarusian passports will qualify for Paris 2024.

Compared to the number of athletes from these nationalities who participated in Tokyo 2020, the number is significantly lower. Three years ago, 330 athletes from the Russian Olympic Committee and 104 athletes from the Belarusian NOC participated, which is far from the maximum figures of 55 and 28 respectively that experts believe could be achieved.

As far as the participation of the Russian and Belarusian NOCs is concerned, their sporting achievements and medals will not be reflected in the medals table, according to the decision of the IOC Executive Board.

In the press conference held in Switzerland and broadcast live on YouTube, it was also stated that INAs with Russian or Belarusian passports will not take part in the parade of delegations during the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games, as they are individual athletes, although it was not ruled out that they could take part in the Closing Ceremony, as in the latter they will march all together.

The AINs from both countries "will not take part in the parade of delegations and teams during the Opening Ceremony as they are individual athletes, but they will be given the opportunity to experience the event," said IOC Director James Macleod after an IOC Executive Board meeting in Lausanne.

It was also clarified that the criterion chosen is the same as that used for independent Olympic participants at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games (from the former Yugoslavia). The IOC Director said that the scenario mirrored that of the 1992 Barcelona Games for "Independent Olympic Participants" from the former Yugoslavia.

"The decision on the participation of AINs in the Closing Ceremony will be taken at a later stage, taking into account that it is not the teams that enter the Closing Ceremony, but all the athletes jointly together," he concluded.