The Badminton World Federation (BWF) has maintained its ban on Russian and Belarussian athletes and officials from participating in any BWF-sanctioned international tournaments, the world governing body for badminton said on Thursday, April 20. The BWF said that the decision was made following a BWF Council Meeting on Tuesday, April 25. Notably, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommended last month that athletes from Russia and Belarus be allowed to return to competition as neutrals, provided they did not support the war or were not affiliated to the military.
However, BWF has decided to continue its decision from last year, when the badminton body banned the athletes and officials representing the two countries from participating in any of its international tournaments, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. "BWF acknowledges that sport should foster peace and solidarity between all people, and that sport should not become a political vehicle for influence in geo-politics. In that sense, the guiding principle is that athletes should always be allowed to participate in sport competitions without judgement of their passport and separate of any geo-political conflict outside the control of the sports movement," the governing body said in a statement.
"We recognise the recently proposed framework of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to which athletes from Russia and Belarus could potentially resume participation if International Federations decide such inclusion. And we are also aware that in some sports, peaceful and safe participation has been possible.
However, in sight of risks to players and events that could arise by re-opening participation, plus steps to seek more clarity on IOC's complex criteria for allowing participation, and any such repercussions this may have, including conditions related to Olympic qualification and potential participation in Paris 2024, BWF is not convinced there is satisfactory justification to lift the suspensions on Russian and Belarussian players and officials at this time," it added.
The Paris Olympics qualifications will take place between May 1, 2023 to April 28, 2024. The qualification will be awarded in singles and doubles badminton events based on results achieved at competitions between the given period. "BWF continues to express unwavering support to the people of Ukraine, and the Ukrainian badminton community, and we strongly condemn the invasion of Ukraine, which works against BWF's core values and our objective to obtain peace," the BWF added.