— Published 5 September 2023

The Nordic countries stick to their guns

Like World Aquatics, and recently also the International Badminton Federation (BWF), one after another the Olympic movement’s governing bodies are opening the door to the return of Russian and Belarusian athletes. But the National Olympic Committees are not united on this issue. At the head of the queue of opponents to the IOC Executive Board’s recommendation are the Nordic countries. In a joint declaration, the National Olympic Committees of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and three other Nordic territories – Greenland, the Faroe Islands and the Åland Islands – have once again reiterated their position from the start of the conflict in Ukraine: they do not want to hear of Russian and Belarusian athletes being reinstated in international competitions, even under neutral status. “The war situation in Ukraine has not changed, they wrote in a press release following a meeting in Greenland. This is why we remain firm in our position, which is not to open up international sporting participation to Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials. In our view, the time has not come to consider their return”.