Sport world boycotts Russia
Sport world boycotts Russia
As Russia continues to invade Ukraine, many sports bodies have lent support to Ukraine by speaking out against Russia and suspending them from many sports competitions.
UPDATE: The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has confirmed that the Football Union of Russia (FUR) has filed appeals against FIFA and UEFA, challenging the suspensions of Russian teams and clubs from competitions run by the two football governing bodies. The FUR has also registered complaints against all the teams that have publicly refused to play against Russia, including the Polish Football Association, Swedish Football Association, Czech Football Association, the Football Association of Montenegro and the Malta Football Association.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, supported by Belarus, many different sanctions have been levied against Russia and Belarus. The sports world has lent its support to Ukraine as well. Athletes, sports organisations, and fans have also voiced their support for Ukraine through a number of different acts and measures.
Here is what has happened so far:
- The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has banned all Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing in the upcoming Beijing 2022 Paralympic Games, due to start on 5 March. After receiving backlash for initially allowing athletes from the two countries to compete as neutrals, the IPC reversed its stance citing the "safety and security of athletes."
- The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Group has banned Russian and Belarusian players and officials from participating in any events, following the IOC's recommendations.
- The International Gymnastics Federation has indefinitely banned all Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials, including judges, from participating in any sanctioned competition. The World Curling Federation has also banned Russia from its championships, which were previously relocated from Russia, for the rest of the season.
- FIFA has suspended all Russian football teams from games until further notice. This includes removing them from the upcoming World Cup in Qatar. While FIFA initially allowed Russian teams to compete on neutral territory without their flag, pushback from other countries including England, Wales, Sweden, Poland and the Czech Republic led the world football governing body to ban all Russian teams.
- On 27 February, the International Judo Federation (IJF) stripped Russian president Vladimir Putin of his title as the honorary president of the governing board, a title he has held since 2008.
- European football governing body UEFA has also banned all Russian teams, and they will not be allowed to participate in this summer’s women's Euro championships. The finals of the UEFA Champions League, which were scheduled to take place in St. Petersburg in May, has now been shifted to Paris. Club Spartak Moscow has been removed from the Europa League. UEFA has also ended its partnership with Russian energy giant Gazprom.
- Russia’s Formula 1 Grand Prix, scheduled to take place in Sochi this September, has also been cancelled by the FIA, the governing body for F1. This announcement came after previous champions Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen, along with other F1 drivers, said they would not participate in the race if it went ahead. The FIA is still deciding whether they will suspend all Russian drivers from races, putting Russian F1 star Nikita Mazepin’s future at risk.
- The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has called for a ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes from taking part in any sports events. The IOC has also withdrawn the Olympic Order, its highest honour, from Putin and other high-ranking Russian officials. The call has come just days before the start of the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics.
- World Taekwondo has stripped Putin of his honorary black belt, and banned Russian and Belarusian flags and national anthems from events. The federation also said that it would not recognise any competitions being held in Russia or Belarus.
- The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) has suspended all Russian and Belarusian national teams and clubs from participation in every age category. Further, Russia’s hosting rights for the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship has been withdrawn.
- The Badminton World Federation (BWF) has cancelled all sanctioned tournaments in Russia and Belarus and banned them from hosting any future events until further notice. Their flags and anthems have also been banned from all events.
- World Rugby has banned Russia and Belarus from all international rugby, until further notice. Russia’s membership of World Rugby has also been suspended, which would jeopardise the country’s ability to compete in next year’s World Cup.
- Aquatics governing body FINA has cancelled the World Junior Swimming Championships, due to take place in August in Russia; FINA has also said it will not host any future events in Russia if the situation persists.
- Chess governing body FIDE has banned Russia and Belarus from hosting official FIDE events, banned the countries’ flags and national anthems and has terminated sponsorship with all Russian and Belarusian companies.
- The World Curling Federation is in the process of removing Russian entries from the World Championship
- The International Equestrian Federation has announced the removal of all international events from Russia and Belarus, and will stop all athletes from the two countries from participating in its competitions and events.
- Chelsea’s owner, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, has stepped down from handling the club, passing the reigns to the Chelsea Foundation, the charitable arm of the football club.
- F1 team Haas removed their Russian-based sponsor, a company owned by Dmitry Mazepin, a close associate of Putin.
- Football club Manchester United has ended its sponsorship deal with Russia’s national airline, Aeroflot, which has been the club’s official carrier since 2013.
- German second-division football club Schalke dropped Gazprom as their sponsor. The Russian energy company has been the club’s main sponsor since 2007.
- Britain pulled out of its 2023 International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Basketball World Cup qualifier, scheduled to take place in Belarus on 25 February.
- World no. 1 tennis player, Russia’s Daniil Medvedev, spoke after his win over Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka at the Mexican Open, stating that he wants to promote peace.
- Russia’s second-highest ranked tennis player Andrey Rublev appealed to peace after his win over Hubert Hurkacz at the Dubai Tennis Championship – he signed a TV camera lens on court with “no war please.”
- Russian footballer Fyodor Smolov took to social media to lend his support to peace between Russia and Ukraine.
- Ukranian midfielder Ruslan Malinovskyi revealed an undershirt with “no war in Ukraine” written on it, worn under his jersey, during a Europa League game between Atalanta and Olympiacos. His parents are currently in Ukraine.
- Barcelona and Napoli players joined together to display a “Stop War” poster before their Europa League match.
- Players of Manchester City and Everton football clubs went on the field wearing Ukranian flags and a message against war before their Premier League match.
- Ukranian footballer Oleksandr Zinchenko lent his support to his homeland through social media.
- Ukranian tennis player Elina Svitolina posted on Twitter asking for a stop to the war.
- Former world heavyweight champion boxer and Olympic champion, Ukraine’s Wladimir Klitschko, posted a message of support for his country, pleading the world to come to the defence of democracy. In the note, he also said that he will be taking up arms to fight the war against the Russians. His brother, Vitali, who is the mayor of Kyiv, has said he will join his brother.
- Ukranian professional boxer and heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk has also joined the fight against Russian invasion. He also appealed to his fellow Russians to stop the war and asked Putin to put an end to the invasion, on a social media post.