IOF will not implement a neutral team following member feedback

During its meeting on March 10 the IOF Council decided to not move forward with a proposal of creating an IOF Team for athletes that have emigrated from countries where the membership of the national orienteering federation in IOF is suspended.

The discussion was actualized by the fact that the war in Ukraine and consequent suspensions of the IOF members in Russia and Belarus might last for a long time and the current suspensions exclude many athletes from participating in IOF events. The IOF has also followed the discussions and consultations taking place within the Olympic movement related to the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in international sports.

Based upon this, the IOF decided to initiate an open process to investigate the position of its member federations and athlete representatives on the topic.

The IOF Council drafted a proposal containing potential conditions for a neutral IOF Team which was sent out for consultation in January.

The proposal contained strict conditions with athletes having to have emigrated from a suspended member country and providing a formal statement that they would fully respect the IOF Statutes and any sanctions in place. In addition, the athletes would only be able to participate in individual competitions and neutrally on the “IOF Team”.

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.

The IOF Council agrees with the advice provided by its members and has therefore decided not to move forward with the proposal. The IOF approach regarding the war in Ukraine and the suspension of the members in Russia and Belarus is strengthened by the very clear message from its members.

The Council asks all member federations to respect the suspension of the Russian and Belarus members including restricting the participation of athletes from Russia and Belarus.

The IOF Council would like to emphasize the continued solidarity with Ukrainian orienteering and the Ukrainian Orienteering Federation and support the demand for ceasing aggression and a lasting peace.