Skiing-Russian and Belarusian athletes remain banned from FIS events

FILE PHOTO: Nordic Skiing - FIS Nordic World Ski Championships - Planica, Slovenia - February 24, 2023 General view during the men's skiathlon REUTERS/Borut Zivulovic

(Reuters) - Russian and Belarusian athletes will continue to be barred from competitions organised by skiing's global federation (FIS) due to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, the governing body said on Wednesday.

The International Olympic Committee recommended in March that athletes from Russia and Belarus be allowed to return to international competition as neutrals, provided they did not support the war or were not affiliated with the military.

Several sporting bodies banned athletes from both countries following the invasion, which Moscow describes as a "special military operation". Belarus has been a key staging area for the invasion.

"The current FIS policy, which does not allow the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials in FIS events, will remain in effect until further notice," the FIS council said in a statement following its Spring meeting.

The decision received praise from some of the federations within the FIS.

"We have been very clear with FIS on this matter. Therefore, we are pleased that FIS maintains the same stance and does not want Russia and Belarus to participate in international competitions," the President of the Norwegian Ski Federation Tove Moe Dyrhaug said in a statement.

(Reporting by Tommy Lund in Gdansk; Editing by Toby Davis)

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