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This is rather big.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has just released a statement recommending the exclusion of all Russian and Belarusian athletes in international sporting competitions.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, right, and then FIFA President Sepp Blatter in July 2014.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, right, and then FIFA President Sepp Blatter in July 2014.Credit:Ria Novosti

Debate has raged for days over whether Russia should be allowed to compete in international sporting competitions with Russia’s upcoming World Cup qualifying opponents all saying that they will not play Russia.

The IOC has previously criticised Vladimir Putin for breaching the “truce” of the Olympic movement by triggering his invasion of Ukraine before the Paralympic Games had even begun in Beijing.

And it has been decreed that no international sporting tournament should be held in either country.

On Tuesday morning (AEDT), the committee’s executive board (IOC EB) said that, with a “heavy heart,” it had issued the following resolution.

“The IOC EB recommends that International Sports Federations and sports event organisers not invite or allow the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials in international competitions,” it said.

“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. Russian or Belarusian nationals, be it as individuals or teams, should be accepted only as neutral athletes or neutral teams.

“No national symbols, colours, flags or anthems should be displayed.”

It was only in 2018 that Russia hosted the World Cup and four years before that, hosted the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

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