Pouring cold water on the momentous announcement by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) that Russian and Belarusian athletes would be allowed to compete in the Asian Games this year, the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) has said there has been no formal invitation.
Saying that the ROC views the invitation with doubt, ROC President Stanislav Pozdnyakov wrote a post on his Telegram channel on Saturday evening.
"The statement of the OCA representative on the admission of Russian and Belarusian athletes to the Asian Games is reminiscent of the March recommendations of the IOC, following which many practical decisions were not made even after several months," his message read.
"At the moment, the Russian Olympic Committee has not received any invitations to participate in the Asian Games, and without this it makes no sense to consider and discuss any hypothetical options.
"There is very little time left before the start of these competitions, and in any case, questions arise regarding the prospects for the full preparation of athletes to achieve the desired result. Not to mention all the organizational, financial, logistical and other conditions of such a trip.
"Over the past few months, we have heard a lot of speculation about the admission of Russians and Belarusians to certain international tournaments. In the vast majority of cases, words remain words. Given the lack of necessary specifics, we treat today's statement accordingly."
The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) general assembly announced earlier on Saturday that around 500 athletes from Russia and Belarus will be allowed to compete at the Asian Games later this year, which will be held between September 23 and October 8.
All the Russian and Belarusian athletes will be playing under a neutral flag and no national symbols, including anthems, will be allowed. They will not be eligible for medals either.
The decision to include Russia and Belarus into the Asian Games is to help them qualify for the Paris Olympics next year, it was also announced. Because these two countries have been frozen out of the European tournaments, which act as Olympic qualifiers, a decision has been taken by the OCA to let them into the Asian qualification system.