IOF sends open letter to IOC

The International Orienteering Federation has sent an open letter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in response to the recent development in recommendations from IOC related to possible inclusion of Russian and Belarusian athletes in international competitions.

On March 28, 2023 IOC issued a new set of recommendations to international federations, that among other things, mentions the possibility of letting Russian and Belarusian athletes compete as individual neutral athletes in international competitions.

The IOF is one of the international federations where the memberships of the member federations in Russia and Belarus have been suspended following the outbreak of the war in Ukraine and non-compliance with the membership obligations outlined in the IOF statutes. Athletes cannot participate in IOF competitions with a sports nationality of a suspended member.

In IOF’s open letter, President Leho Haldna and Secretary General Sondre Gullord explain the consultation process carried out within the IOF organization in early 2023 to assess whether, and potentially how, some of the athletes from Russia and Belarus affected by the suspensions should be allowed to participate in IOF competitions through creation of extraordinary structures enabling this.

The responses received during the consultation process from member federations and athlete representatives showed very clear majority in advising to not change the current sanctions against Russian and Belarusian sport and athletes, as described further here.

IOF Council therefore decided to uphold the sanctions adopted in 2022.

By sending the open letter, IOF wishes to explain its position and emphasize that the IOF perceives it as being completely in line with the recommendation regarding the independence of international sports federations in making decisions for their sport.

Read the open letter from IOF here.