Members voted 22 to one at the International Luge Federation Congress in favour of maintaining the governing body's ban on Russian athletes and officials ©FIL

The International Luge Federation (FIL) has voted to maintain its ban on Russian athletes and officials on the opening day of its 71st Congress in Bucharest, Romania.

Member nations of the FIL voted to confirm the decision of the organisation’s Executive Board, to suspend athletes, coaches, trainers and other officials from the Russian Luge Federation from FIL competitions until further notice.

Members voted 22 in favour and one against the ban, with five abstentions.

In a statement explaining the decision the FIL said: "In view of the ongoing war of aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, it is decided to suspend all participation rights of athletes, coaches, trainers and other officials of the Russian Luge Federation in FIL-sanctioned competitions until further notice in order to ensure safe and peaceful sports competitions with integrity.

"The presence of Russian athletes, coaches, trainers and other officials of the Russian Luge Federation at competitions sanctioned by the FIL is associated with a high risk that the safety, peacefulness and integrity of these competitions and their participants will be seriously endangered.

"This risk is based on the causal personal involvement of the named persons in these FIL competitions and cannot be replaced by a less drastic measure, so that the suspension of participation is appropriate if and as long as the belligerent activities in Ukraine, as the reason for this measure, continue."

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, aided by Belarus, the FIL banned Russian athletes from its competitions and also voted to expel the country's representatives in the Executive Board, commissions and working groups.

This year’s Congress had been due to take place in Lviv, Ukraine, but due to the war it was relocated to Bucharest.

Other business on day one of the Congress included the presentation of awards to individuals for service to the FIL, by President Einars Fogelis and secretary general Dwight Bell.

Three FIL Bronze Badges were presented, with President of the USA Luge Federation Erin Warren, who competed in the sport at the 1994 and 1998 Winter Olympics, able to receive her medal in person.

Bronze badges also went to Beverly Detwiler, who retired from USA Luge last year after almost 40 years service to the organisation, as well as Ukrainian lugers Ivan Bayik and Vasyl Kazmiruk.

Two FIL Medals of Honour were also given to individuals for their work in securing sponsorships for the organisation.

Rudolf Größwang from the RGS Agency was honoured for helping the FIL secure deals with sponsors including Eberspaecher, Hargassner, Viessmann and Seiz, while Stefan Krauß, managing director of Infront Austria, was honoured for negotiating partnerships with organisations including Suzuki, Hörmann, Tiscover, BMW and Engelbert Strauss.

Meanwhile two long-standing FIL officials were due to be awarded the Gold Medal of Honour at the Congress for their service.

Norbert Hiedl, who served as the organisation’s first ethics officer from 2017 until 2022, and Dr. Jörg Ellermeyer, who served as FIL Medical Commission chair until 2022, were due to be honoured but were not able to attend, and these medals are now set to be presented at a later date.

The Congress is scheduled to continue tomorrow.