Within days of the IOC's recommendation, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) executive board has supported the admission of players with either Russian or Belarusian passport to international TT competitions under strict conditions of neutrality. In a statement released on Thursday, March 30, the ITTF said that its executive board endorses the recent statement from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) regarding the status of players with a Russian or Belarusian passport in international competitions.
The IOC executive board has recommended the return to competition of Russian and Belarusian athletes as individual neutrals but has yet to decide whether they can compete at next year's Paris Olympics. The IOC released six recommendations to International Federations (IFs) and international sports event organizers that allow athletes with Russian or Belarusian passports to compete as individual neutral athletes, reports Xinhua.
The ITTF said that "a pillar of the Olympic Movement remains the autonomy that sports organizations must have." "They should have sole responsibility for deciding which players can participate in international competitions based on their sporting merits and not on political grounds or because of their passports," read the ITTF statement.
The ITTF said that if all conditions are met, the earliest players could participate in an event is in May. As qualification for the ITTF World Table Tennis Championships Finals Durban 2023 has passed, players with a Russian or Belarusian passport will be unable to participate.