Russian fencers will not take part at the Paris 2024 Olympics. GETTY IMAGES

The European Fencing Confederation says no fencers from Russia or Belarus will participate in the Paris Olympics after those eligible under a neutral banner did not enter for European qualifiers, according to Agence France-Presse.

"There are unfortunately no Russian or Belarusian athletes," EFC president Giorgio Scarso told reporters on Tuesday. "The date for enrolment has passed. The reason for their absence is not known, there was no official declaration of letter to explain it."

Last year, Russia’s fencers rejected the "proposed return format" set out by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to come back to international competition, raising the possibility they would boycott Olympic qualifying events. Russian Olympic Committee President Stanislav Pozdniakov, a four-time Olympic sabre champion and former EFC President, had threatened a boycott after some athletes were barred from competing.

"As far as fencing in particular is concerned, I have repeatedly discussed with members of the national team the proposed 'return' format," Pozdniakov said on Telegram about the IOC proposal.  "And I can say that none of them have considered and are considering the option of participating in international tournaments within the existing restrictions."

The IOC had offered Russians the chance to compete in Paris as neutral athletes without the national flag or anthem as long as they did not publicly support the war against Ukraine and were not employed by the military or security services. "No Russian fencers will go to these Olympic Games," Russian fencing federation head Ilgar Mamedov told this week.

"We have made our principled position clear: we are not going to divide our team into those who please the West and those who, in their opinion, are 'bad Russians’."