IPC suspension of NPC Russia and Belarus to go back before General Assembly

Both NPCs were suspended by the IPC membership at an Extraordinary General Assembly in November 2022 Appeals Tribunal upholds suspension appeals by NPC Russia and NPC Belarus on technicality IPC decision not to accept athlete entries from NPC Russia and NPC Belarus in World Para Sports competitions remains in place 12 May 2023
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On 10 May, an IPC Independent Appeals Tribunal upheld on technical grounds, appeals from the National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) of Russia and Belarus regarding the suspension of their membership by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). 

At an Extraordinary General Assembly on 16 November 2022, the IPC’s member organisations voted to suspend both NPCs as members of the IPC based on their inability to comply with their membership obligations under the IPC Constitution. 

NPC Russia and NPC Belarus appealed their suspension, and in-person hearings were held with the IPC’s Independent Appeals Tribunal on 25 and 26 April, respectively, in Dubai, UAE. 

The IPC Independent Appeals Tribunal did not decide on the merits of the two NPC suspensions, but instead determined that the General Assembly should have considered the same supporting evidence that the IPC put before the Appeals Tribunal, including new information that became available to the IPC after the General Assembly’s decision in November 2022.  

Although this issue was not raised by either party, the Appeals Tribunal did not wish to substitute itself for the IPC Membership which had voted to suspend the NPCs, and it therefore set aside the decision. As such, the full information and evidence available to the Appeals Tribunal will be put before the IPC’s General Assembly in September, for its consideration. 

Regarding this decision, IPC President Andrew Parsons said, “Following the events that we saw unfold just before the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games, our members made it clear that the membership status of NPCs Russia and Belarus needed to be considered by the General Assembly. We believe that our actions taken to call the 2022 Extraordinary General Assembly in Berlin and allow every member the chance to present their views on these important matters, fulfilled our obligations under our rules. Our Independent Appeals Tribunal decided differently, which is a decision we certainly respect, but disagree with. As we already had committed to do, we will bring these matters back to our General Assembly later this year, follow the Appeal Tribunal’s directions by presenting the additional evidence we have since acquired, and give our members the opportunity to decide these important matters.”  

The Appeals Tribunal also confirmed that the IPC’s decision not to accept athlete entries from NPC Russia and NPC Belarus in the world and regional championships and sanctioned-level competitions of the six World Para Sports governed by the IPC, remains in force. 

The next time the membership status of NPC Russia and NPC Belarus will be discussed is at the 2023 IPC General Assembly, which will be held in Bahrain between 28-29 September.