The International Olympic Committee (IOC) initiated the movement on Monday, February 28. The powerful football federations, the European confederation (UEFA) and above all the international federation (FIFA) – less quick to decide – have definitely started it. The banishment of Russia and Belarus from world sport is now almost total. Like a game of dominoes, the vast majority of sports federations have now excluded Russian athletes or teams from their competitions.
In the wake of football, the Euroleague has also suspended the three Russian clubs (CSKA Moscow, Unics Kazan and Zénit Saint-Petersburg) which take part in the flagship competition of European basketball. For its part, the International Ice Hockey Federation followed suit, announcing on Monday that Russia and Belarus were suspended from all club competitions or selections. ” until further notice “a decision that could deprive the Russian team of participation in the 2022 Worlds in May in Finland.
The European Handball Federation (EHF) has taken the same decision: the suspension of all national teams and all Russian and Belarusian clubs from the competitions it organizes. This concerns in particular in the Men’s Champions League the Belarusian club Brest and in the Women’s Champions League the Russian clubs Rostov and CSKA Moscow.
Monday evening, World Rugby also agreed to this sentence, which puts an end to the slim Russian hopes of qualification for the next World Cup, disputed in 2023 in France. The International Rugby Federation has also decided the “full and immediate suspension of the Russian Rugby Federation from its status as a member of World Rugby until further notice”.
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) also canceled all activities in the two countries, banned them from hosting competitions ” until further notice “ and ordered their flags and anthems banned from all BWF tournaments.
Faced with this broad movement, other sports bodies were more than ever under pressure. This is the case of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB), which, after procrastinating, announced on Tuesday 1er March the cancellation of the Worlds scheduled in Russia (August 26 to September 11). “The FIVB has therefore decided to withdraw the organization of the Men’s Volleyball World Championship from Russia. The Russian Volleyball Federation and the Volleyball 2022 Organizing Committee have been informed accordingly,” explains the press release. France (Olympic champion) and Poland (world champion) had already announced that they would not participate in the competition if it was maintained in Russia.
The world tennis authorities – the players’ associations (ATP) and players’ associations (WTA) and the International Federation (the ITF) – will also have to decide. Several Ukrainian tennis players have called on the WTA to react. Elina Svitolina, who was due to face Russian Anastasia Potapova on Tuesday in the first round of the Monterrey tournament (Mexico), announced that she would no longer play against Russian or Belarusian opponents as long as the WTA, ATP and ITF, the bodies that manage world tennis, will not have followed the recommendations of the IOC “to accept Russian or Belarusian nationals only as neutral athletes, not displaying symbols, colors, flags or anthems of their nation”.
“As a result of which, I would like to announce that I will not be playing tomorrow [mardi] in Monterrey, nor will I participate in any matches against Russian or Belarusian tennis players until our organizations have taken this necessary decision”wrote the 15and world player Monday on Twitter.
Decision Wednesday for the Paralympic Games
To justify its recommendation, which comes a few days before the start of the Paralympic Games in Beijing (March 4 to 13), the IOC puts forward a ” dilemma “ : “While athletes from Russia and Belarus could continue to participate in sporting events, many Ukrainian athletes are prevented from doing so due to the attack on their country.”
To solve it, she “recommends to International Sports Federations and organizers of sports events not to invite or allow the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes and official representatives in international competitions”.
Stanislav Pozdnyakov, president of the Russian Olympic Committee, said in a statement on Monday that the IOC’s decision would go “against the regulations and the charter, first of all the spirit of the Olympic movement which aims to unite and not to divide, especially when it comes to athletes or equality of participants in the Olympic movement”.
The question is particularly pressing for the Paralympic Games, which begin Friday in Beijing. “When, in very extreme circumstances”implement these measures “is not possible in the short term for organizational or legal reasons”the “CIO leaves it up to the organization concerned to find its own path”. It therefore refers the decision back to the International Paralympic Committee, reiterating its “full support”. He planned to speak on Wednesday March 2.
Source: Le Monde