The International Fencing Federation (FIE) has readmitted athletes from Russia and Belarus to the qualifiers for the Paris 2024 Olympics. This is the first Olympic sport in which such a decision is taken. Sportsmen from the two countries have been absent from the international circuit since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. 89 out of 136 countries voted in favour of readmission. The competitions to select participants in the Olympic Games will begin on April 3, in less than a month. The decision is however subject to validation by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which has not yet expressed its opinion. The fencers of Russia and Belarus will be on the platform "in compliance with the conditions of neutrality and individual suitability", according to the hypothesis that had already been formulated by the FIE last November and narrowly rejected. In the meantime, however, first the Asian Olympic Committee in December and then the African Olympic Committees last week changed their position, announcing that they were in favor of the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in Paris in 2024. An opening that has created the conditions for today's vote.

Azzi (Fis): "The last word is up to the IOC"


The line, clear and essential, remains that of the IOC. The congress of the International Fencing Federation in fact voted by a majority for the readmission of neutral athletes of Russian and Belarusian nationality in view of the start of the Olympic qualification, but left the outcome to the decisions that will be taken by the International Olympic Committee". Paolo Azzi, president of the Italian Fencing Federation (FIS), writes in a note, according to which "it is essential to remember that, as well explained in the same questions proposed to the representatives of national federations around the world, the FIE has specified that the last word will be up to the IOC. A position that the Italian Fencing Federation has consistently supported from the beginning, striving to ensure that every decision is submitted to the scrutiny of the Olympic Committee. As it will happen and it was not obvious".