Refugees will be allowed to participate under the name of "refugee athlete" at World Cup and World Championships ©Getty Images

The International Cycling Union (UCI) has approved changes to its rules to allow refugees to participate in major events.

Modifications have been made to the UCI’s regulations to give a cyclist who has been forced to flee their country the opportunity to compete under the name of "refugee athlete" for high-level competitions, including World Cups and World Championships.

Under the new rules, refugees will no longer need to be registered by the National Federation of their country of origin to enter top events as they aim to secure a place on the Olympic Refugee Team.

Cyclists Masomah Ali Zada of Afghanistan and Ahmad Wais of Syria were part of a 29-strong Olympic Refugee Team that participated at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, with the pair competing in the respective women’s and men’s individual time trial races.

The changes to the regulations were approved at last week’s UCI Management Committee meeting staged in Wollongong in Austria.

Aghan refugee cyclist Masomah Ali Zada participated at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics ©Getty Images
Aghan refugee cyclist Masomah Ali Zada participated at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics ©Getty Images

Other decisions made at the gathering of top UCI officials include the launching of the organisation’s new Integrity Commission.

The committee replaces the UCI Anti-Doping Commission, but Australia’s Anne Gripper is expected to remain as its President.

It is hoped that the changes will broaden the mandate of the committee to include the protection of cycling, with a focus on prevention of harassment and other abuses, and the fight against competition manipulation.

The commission is also expected to make proposals to improve the UCI’s integrity programme as we as make recommendations to the Management Committee and the International Testing Agency on anti-doping policy.

The UCI said the group would be guided by the principles of the "Cycling Integrity" programme launched by the organisation in May.