BWF Position on Participation of Athletes from Russia and Belarus

BWF Position on Participation of Athletes from Russia and Belarus

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) has maintained its suspension of Russian and Belarussian athletes and officials from participating at any BWF sanctioned international tournaments.

The decision was made following a BWF Council Meeting on Tuesday.

This position reflects BWF’s core intention to preserve the integrity of badminton competitions and ensure the safety of all athletes.

The decision last March to support the unified approach of the sports movement to not allow athletes from Russia and Belarus to participate in international competitions due to fears over participants’ safety is a position still largely enforced by many federations.

Given the conflict between Ukraine and Russia and Belarus is ongoing, and recent precedence of governments interfering and blocking athletes’ participation in sporting events as a vehicle to sanction instead of allowing sport to build bridges and promote solidarity between all people, we feel that such fears for safety have not been exacerbated.

BWF acknowledges that sport should foster peace and solidarity between all people, and that sport should not become a political vehicle for influence in geo-politics.

In that sense, the guiding principle is that athletes should always be allowed to participate in sport competitions without judgement of their passport and separate of any geo-political conflict outside the control of the sports movement.

We recognise the recently proposed framework of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to which athletes from Russia and Belarus could potentially resume participation if International Federations decide such inclusion. And we are also aware that in some sports, peaceful and safe participation has been possible.

However, in sight of risks to players and events that could arise by re-opening participation, plus steps to seek more clarity on IOC’s complex criteria for allowing participation, and any such repercussions this may have, including conditions related to Olympic qualification and potential participation in Paris 2024, BWF is not convinced there is satisfactory justification to lift the suspensions on Russian and Belarussian players and officials at this time.

BWF continues to express unwavering support to the people of Ukraine, and the Ukrainian badminton community, and we strongly condemn the invasion of Ukraine, which works against BWF’s core values and our objective to obtain peace.

We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will keep open dialogue with the BWF Membership and our international sport movement partners to review our position in time.

It is a regrettable scenario to be in where badminton players are not being allowed to freely participate due to geo-political conflicts and interference by governments. But it is a reality BWF presently accepts as we strive to uphold our role of preserving the integrity of badminton competitions and ensuring the safety of all athletes.


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