The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) announced on Wednesday that it is allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete as neutral athletes in the upcoming tournament. 

It comes in spite of mounting political and sporting sanctions on the country, as a result of its invasion of Ukraine. 

Nadine Dorries, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, has released a statement condemning the organisation’s decision, urging it to reconsider and show retaliation for the conflict.

She wrote: “I’m extremely disappointed in the IPC – this is the wrong decision and I call on them to urgently reconsider. They must join the rest of the world in condemning this barbaric invasion by banning Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing.

“We will consider the full range of options in protest of this decision, in consultation with UK Sport and the British Paralympic Association. I will also be meeting with my international counterparts this week to discuss how we can respond collectively.”

Furthemore, the IPC has revealed that it is holding a press conference to answer questions on the decision it has made in Beijing, adding: “Participation in the Paralympic Games is a matter for the IPC and the IPC Governing Board is meeting on Wednesday 2nd March to discuss Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

“We recognise that the IPC is bound by its constitution to be a non-political body and we support them in delivering a peaceful Games for the benefit of all athletes.”

The IPC went on to claim that given the magnitude of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, that it cannot see how the participation of Russia or Belarus in the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games is compatible with the objectives of the Paralympic movement.

The announcement shortly follows the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board’s announcement on Monday that it recommends for no participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials in the games.

The board continued: “Wherever this is not possible on short notice for organisational or legal reasons, the IOC EB strongly urges International Sports Federations and organisers of sports events worldwide to do everything in their power to ensure that no athlete or sports official from Russia or Belarus be allowed to take part under the name of Russia or Belarus.”

FIFA and UEFA have also made the decision to ban all Russian football teams, both national representatives or clubs, from participation in the upcoming 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Whilst such teams are also suspended from both FIFA and UEFA competitions until further notice, the announcement was adopted by the Bureau of the FIFA Council and the Executive Committee of UEFA.

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