Australia has joined a coalition of nations which has urged the International Olympics Committee (IOC) to ban Russia and Belarus from the upcoming Paris Olympics in 2024.

Australia joins the UK, United States, France and “more than 30 like-minded nations” who signed a letter of intent urging the IOC to reconsider its stance of creating pathways that will expedite the return of athletes from the two nations to the international stage.

Their demands also include a clear definition of the word “neutral” which the IOC has used to separate the athletes from their countries. They have argued that an athlete funded by their state cannot be classified as neutral regardless of the terminology loophole.

In recent times, the governing body of the Olympics has been openly exploring ways to see the return of Belarusian and Russian athletes to the world stage which has not gone down well with other nations.

Nordic countries have already threatened to boycott the Olympics if IOC does not budge from its stance.

Ukraine maintains a similar stance about the Paris Games if Russian and Belarusian athletes compete while Paris, the host city, also expressed its desire to not welcome the athletes until made necessary by IOC.

Russian athletes have been allowed to compete in track and field events in the last two games as neutrals after the Russian Athletics Federation was banned by World Athletics for systematic doping in 2015.

Other sports have also allowed their athletes to compete without their country’s flag but an event the size of the Olympics was always likely to cause friction.

The matter is likely to drag on for a while, causing fears of another cold war situation across the globe.