World Aquatics allows the return of Russians and Belarusians “under strict criteria”


World Aquatics, the governing body for swimming, confirmed on Monday that, “after extensive consultation and deliberation,” its committee has “unanimously decided on a set of criteria” to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate in their competitions as neutral.

For this, an “independent” Integrity Unit will be in charge of establishing “strict criteria that include solid anti-doping measures” to give the go-ahead to swimmers from these two countries, sanctioned in many sports without competing for the invasion of Ukraine, and who They have been developed by a working group.

In this sense, World Aquatics has also relied on polls that have shown “strong support for the key criteria established, including the absence of active support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the omission of flags and national anthems.”

“67 percent of athletes support the participation of individual neutral athletes who meet the strict criteria,” said the federation, which clarified that only “a maximum of one individual neutral athlete will be allowed to compete in world aquatics competitions. from Russia and one from Belarus per event”.

The president of World Aquatics, Husain Al Musallam, stressed that the world committee of the organization “recognizes the dedication, commitment and talent of swimmers, regardless of their nationality.” “Despite the challenges we face on the international stage, we recognize our responsibility to foster a competitive environment that is fair and inclusive for every competitor,” he added.