Russia’s Winter Paralympic team are returning home from Beijing after deciding not to appeal against the decision to ban their athletes from competing.
The International Paralympic Committee performed a U-turn on Thursday morning when it opted to exclude Russian and Belarusian athletes from the Games, which start on Friday.
The IPC had initially decided to let those athletes compete as neutrals despite the Russian invasion of Ukraine, aided and abetted by Belarus, but changed its mind amid the threat of other countries staging a mass boycott.
On Friday, the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) said it had considered lodging an appeal for an accelerated Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing but discovered that IPC statutes prevented it.
The RPC said it reserved the right to apply to the appropriate international and national courts “when the RPC considers it timely and necessary” but that the delegation would now be leaving China.
An RPC statement said: “The decision (to exclude Russian Paralympians) is absolutely politicised… and clearly tells everyone double standards, unfortunately, have become the norm for modern sports.
“The current situation also makes it clear to everyone: strong rivals, which the Russian team has always been and will be, are not needed today.
“After receiving the decision of the IPC on the non-admission of the team to the Games, the RPC involved leading Russian and foreign law firms to conduct a legal examination of the possibility of the RPC applying to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS ) and obtaining a positive decision during the accelerated proceedings.
“Unfortunately, this is prevented by article 2.9 of the Paralympic Games Section of the IPC Rules, according to which the IPC ‘may, at its discretion, at any time, refuse any athlete entry, without indication of grounds’, as well as the absence in the IPC Constitution of an arbitration clause allowing the RPC to apply to CAS to resolve disputes.
“The Russian Paralympic Committee and its athletes currently do not consider it possible or expedient to stay in Beijing and are planning to leave the capital of the Winter Games, the city of wonderful people, in the near future.”
The Russian Football Union said on Thursday it had lodged an appeal to CAS against the decision of FIFA and UEFA to ban its national teams and clubs from international football until further notice, which has effectively excluded Russia from the men’s World Cup and the Women’s European Championship later this year.
The football authorities’ decision to ban Russia followed a recommendation from the International Olympic Committee’s executive board on Monday that Russian and Belarusian athletes, teams and officials should be excluded from events “wherever possible”.
The RPC said that the IOC decision had “led to the degradation and collapse of the entire world of sports”.