Emmanuel Macron, left, met with Thomas Bach in Paris ©IOC

French President Emmanuel Macron agreed that a final decision on Russian and Belarusian athletes competing at Paris 2024 should be made by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) during a meeting with IOC counterpart Thomas Bach.

Macron received Bach at the Élysée Palace in the French capital with the participation of Russians and Belarusians next year high on the agenda.

Bach has consistently warned against Government interference in sport and insists that Olympic decisions such as who competes should be made by sporting bodies alone.

However, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged Macron not to allow the presence of Russia and Belarus at Paris 2024 amid the ongoing invasion of his country.

In January, Zelensky said he "particularly emphasised" that "Russia should have no place at the Olympic Games in Paris" during a telephone call with the French President.

At the Group of Seven (G7) Leaders' Statement on Ukraine in Hiroshima last month, the G7 said it "fully respected the autonomy of sporting organisations" but wanted to ensure that "Russian and Belarusian athletes are in no way appearing as representatives of their states".

The IOC said this adhered with its position.

"President Bach thanked President Macron for the recent declaration at the G7 Summit in Hiroshima, Japan, concerning the autonomy of sport and the conditions for the participation of athletes with a Russian or Belarussian passport, in alignment with the respective recommendations of the IOC," the IOC said following the Macron meeting.

"In addition, they reaffirmed that the decision on the participation of these athletes at the Olympic Games Paris 2024 will be taken by the IOC at the appropriate time, and that they will continue to cooperate in this respect, too."

In March, the IOC Executive Board recommended that individual Russian and Belarusian athletes should be allowed to return to sporting competition, if they are not openly in support of the invasion of Ukraine or affiliated to the military.

This rolled back the original IOC stance after Vladimir Putin launched his invasion in February 2022, which called for an outright ban.

Several sports have taken the IOC advice on board and created pathways for Russians and Belarusians to return.

French IOC members Guy Drut, Jean-Christophe Rolland, David Lappartient and Martin Fourcade also joined Bach at the meeting.

Belgium's Pierre-Olivier Beckers-Vieujant, the chair of the IOC's Paris 2024 Coordination Commission, was another to attend.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, left, has urged Emmanuel Macron to block Russians and Belarusians from competing at Paris 2024 ©Getty Images
Volodymyr Zelenskyy, left, has urged Emmanuel Macron to block Russians and Belarusians from competing at Paris 2024 ©Getty Images

"The two leaders discussed the preparations for the Olympic Games Paris 2024, which are going extremely well," the IOC said.

"President Bach and President Macron expressed their full support for the Organising Committee and its President, Olympic champion Tony Estanguet, who also attended the meeting.

"The Olympic Games Paris 2024 will be Games of a new era, taking the reforms of Olympic Agenda 2020 and Olympic Agenda 2020+5 fully into account. 

"The 'Games wide open' slogan will fully come to life at these Games. 

"Paris 2024 will be the most inclusive Olympic Games, the most urban Olympic Games, the youngest Olympic Games, the most sustainable Olympic Games and the most gender-balanced Olympic Games in history, with full parity of female and male athletes."