Sporting bodies move to ban Russian athletes amid invasion of Ukraine

Sophia, 7, holds a placard that reads "Putin murderer" and "Hands off Ukraine" during a protest outside the Russian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, February 28, 2022. REUTERS


As Russia's invasion of Ukraine continued, sporting bodies moved to bar Russian athletes from competing in international events, with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommending a ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials.

Athletes from Ukraine and other nations had called on the IOC to take action after Russia launched its invasion by land, air and sea last week following a declaration of war by President Vladimir Putin.

The IOC said on Monday its executive board made the decision "in order to protect the integrity of global sports competitions and for the safety of all the participants".

The Russian Olympic Committee categorically disagreed with the IOC, saying the decision "contradicts both the regulatory documents of the IOC and the (Olympic) Charter".

The IOC's statement came shortly before the Winter Paralympics, which start in Beijing on Friday. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) will meet on Wednesday to discuss Russia ahead of the Games.


Following IOC's statement, a source told Reuters that soccer's governing body FIFA is set to suspend Russia's national teams from international football until further notice.

FIFA is in advanced talks with European soccer body UEFA over the matter and a decision could be made later on Monday.

Meanwhile, European soccer governing body UEFA is also due to hold a meeting, at 1800 CET on Monday, to decide on several issues relating to Russian football.

Several soccer federations have said they would not play matches against Russia, with the United States, Scotland and Ireland the latest to join the list.


Badminton's world governing body (BWF) cancelled all sanctioned tournaments in Russia and Belarus, adding that no other badminton tournaments will be allocated to those regions until further notice.

BWF also said that Russian and Belarusian national flags must not be displayed and their national anthems not played at any BWF events.

Ukraine's motorsports federation called on Formula One's governing FIA to ban all Russian and Belarusian license holders from taking part in its competitions, which if accepted could put Russia's Nikita Mazepin out of the sport.

Swimming's global governing body FINA called off the World Junior Swimming Championships that were set to take place in Kazan and said that it would provide whatever support it could to members of the aquatics family impacted by Russia's invasion.

On Sunday, the Ukrainian Tennis Federation urged the sport's governing body the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to immediately expel Russia and Belarus from the organisation and ban Russia from team and individual tournaments.


Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a "special operation" that it says is not designed to occupy territory but to destroy its southern neighbour's military capabilities and capture what it regards as dangerous nationalists.

Russian billionaire businessman Roman Abramovich, who owns Premier League soccer club Chelsea, has accepted a Ukrainian request to help negotiate an end to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Abramovich was asked by Ukraine to help mediate because of his background in Russia, where he made a fortune in the chaotic 1990s period of post-communist privatisation, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on condition of anonymity.


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