January 26, 2018 / 7:29 PM / in a year

IOC issues conduct guide for Russian athletes at Games

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters is pictured on the day of an Executive Board meeting on sanctions for Russian athletes in Lausanne, Switzerland December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

BERLIN (Reuters) - Russian athletes who compete as independents at next month’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics cannot grab a Russian flag or stage alternate medal ceremonies as part of conduct guidelines issued on Friday.

The International Olympic Committee, which in December banned Russia from the Feb. 9-25 Games in South Korea because of the country’s doping violations, has invited 169 carefully screened Russian athletes who will compete under the Olympic flag as Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR).

Russia was banned over “systematic manipulation” of the anti-doping system at the 2014 Sochi Games.

According to the IOC’s “Conduct Guidelines for Olympic Athlete from Russia”, athletes must wear only the authorised OAR uniforms and refrain from any public form of publicity associated with the Russian “flag, anthem, emblem and symbols”.

They must also “not solicit or accept the national flag, anthem, emblem and symbols at any Olympic site,” the IOC said.

Athletes and officials are also not allowed to stage or take part in ‘alternate’ victory ceremonies organised by the Russian Olympic Committee or a third party.

The IOC said it would be monitoring the application of these guidelines through a taskforce, led by IOC deputy Director General Pere Miro and sports Director Kit McConnell.

The suspended Russian Olympic Committee will also be responsible for their fans’ behaviour inside the venues and any display of national flags or emblems even at non-official venues must have IOC approval.

The IOC has said if Russia respected the decisions it could potentially be admitted back under its own flag at the Games’ closing ceremony.

Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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