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29 Sep, 2022 09:12

Sports federation announces U-turn on Russian ban

The Ju-Jitsu International Federation has indicated it will allow Russians to compete as neutrals
Sports federation announces U-turn on Russian ban

The international governing body for ju-jitsu has said it will reverse a ban on Russians from competitions, paving the way for them to appear under neutral status.

The Ju-Jitsu International Federation (JJIF) initially imposed a blanket ban on Russian participants back in March, following a recommendation from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

At the time, the JJIF stated it wanted to prevent a scenario where Russian athletes could continue to compete while those from Ukraine were prevented from doing so because of the conflict in their homeland.

In a statement this week, the organization said that the situation had changed and now allowed for Russian athletes and officials to take part in its tournaments.

“Athletes, coaches or officials from Russia will be allowed to participate only as neutral athletes and athletes support personnel,” read a statement on the JJIF website. 

“No national symbols, colors and flags shall be displayed anywhere, be it on gis or sports equipment, and the Russian national anthem shall not be played.

“The Russian Ju-Jitsu Federation shall be registered without any reference to ‘Russia’ be it in full or as an acronym.”

The organization reiterated that it “condemns” Russia’s actions in Ukraine, but added that it does not want to “punish athletes for the decisions of their government if they are not actively participating in them.”

The JJIF noted that it would not allow officials from the Russian Ju-Jitsu Federation to take part in any non-sporting events, including congresses, and would continue its ban on holding events in the country.

The removal of the ban comes after Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) president Stanislav Pozdnyakov said that many sporting organizations were realizing they were at a “dead end” with the suspensions imposed on Russian athletes.

American Olympic official Susanne Lyons revealed earlier this month that the IOC had already sounded out members regarding a potential “pathway” back to competition for Russians.

Some sports have continued to allow Russians to compete in a neutral capacity despite the IOC’s recommendation for a ban.

Judo had been among those to clear Russians for competition, although the authorities recently reversed that decision ahead of the next month’s World Championships in Uzbekistan, amid boycott threats from Ukraine.

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