Russian athletes increasingly banned from sporting competitions

Sports

(NewsNation Now) — Russian athletes have increasingly been barred from competing in sporting events around the world in a global outcry over President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Not only are athletes from Russia and its ally Belarus being excluded from major competitions, the countries have also been stripped of hosting duties for events previously scheduled within their borders.

Here is a quick highlight of the bans in place:

AUTO RACING

Formula One announced it will no longer race in Russia after the sport terminated its contract with the promoter of the Russian Grand Prix.

“Formula One can confirm it has terminated its contract with the Russian Grand Prix promoter meaning Russia will not have a race in the future,” according to a statement from the sport’s commercial rights holder, which decides the calendar.

The motorsport’s governing body, FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile), allowed individual Russian and Belarusian drivers and officials to enter races as neutrals under the FIA flag, without their national symbols, flags, colors or anthems. 

OLYMPICS

Athletes from Russia and Belarus have been banned from competition at the 2022 Winter Paralympics, which start Friday in Beijing after the International Paralympic Committee reversed its original decision.

The IPC was heavily criticized when it initially said it would allow the athletes to compete as neutrals.

In a statement, the IPC said the “situation in the athlete villages” was “untenable.”

The BBC reported IPC president Andrew Parsons said an “overwhelming number of members” would not compete if athletes from Russia and Belarus would be allowed to take part in the Games.

A New York Times report indicated senior Chinese officials told senior Russian officials in early February not to invade Ukraine before the end of the Winter Olympics in Beijing.

The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) took second place at the 2022 Winter Games with 32 medals, six of which were gold. 

SOCCER

FIFA and UEFA suspended Russian national teams and clubs from all competitions.

The Russian national men’s team was barred from World Cup qualifying playoffs this month and the Russian professional football club Spartak Moscow was barred from their Europa League last 16.

UEFA also barred Belarus from staging international games.

The Champions League final in May was also relocated from St. Petersburg to Paris.

UEFA also canceled sponsorship from Russian energy company Gazprom, which covered Champions League, UEFA national team competitions and the 2024 European Championship.

Russian and Ukrainian footballers reacted on social media. Russian captain Artem Dzyuba broke his silence on the invasion, accusing his country’s critics of “double standards.”

Manchester City’s Ukrainian defender Oleksandr Zinchenko hit back at the Russian striker’s comments by saying “evil should be punished on all platforms.”

Faced with the threat of financial sanctions targeting Russians, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich confirmed he is trying to sell the Premier League club.

“Please know that this has been an incredibly difficult decision to make, and it pains me to part with the club in this manner,” Abramovich said in a statement. “However, I do believe this is in the best interest of the club.”

ICE HOCKEY

Hockey is a big deal in Russia and the U.S. For many, the “Miracle on Ice,” was more than just an Olympic upset, it was an ideological victory in the Cold War.

So the ban on Russian and Belarusian teams in International Ice Hockey Federation events is especially painful for Russian athletes.

In addition, the National Hockey League has suspended all business dealings in Russia.

Russian men are out of world championship competition in May. World junior championships in Russia in 2023 were relocated to Serbia.

Finland’s Jokerit club also withdrew from Kontinental Hockey League conference quarterfinals.

RUGBY

Russia and Belarus were suspended by World Rugby and Rugby Europe from all internationals and cross-border club events.

Russia’s men’s team was barred from Rugby Europe Championship and qualifying for the 2023 Rugby World Cup. Russia women’s team was barred from the Rugby Europe Championship, sevens world series, and qualifying for the Rugby World Cup Sevens in South Africa in September. World Rugby suspended Russia and Belarus Rugby Union membership in Rugby Europe.

TENNIS

International Tennis Federation canceled all events in Russia and Belarus.

Russia and Belarus withdrew from Davis Cup and the Billie Jean King Cup. The Russian Tennis Federation and Belarus Tennis Federation membership of ITF was suspended. The ATP-WTA Kremlin Cup in Moscow in October was suspended. Russia and Belarus players must compete on tours as neutrals without national flags.

BASKETBALL

Russian teams and officials are now barred by the International Basketball Federation. EuroLeague suspended Russian clubs CSKA Moscow, UNICS Kazan and Zenit St. Petersburg. Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar is suspended from EuroCup.

SHOW OF SUPPORT

A wide array of additional sporting bodies have banned Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials, including those in archery, badminton, baseball, canoeing, sport climbing, curling, cycling, equestrian, fencing, field hockey, judo, karate, modern pentathlon, rowing, sailing, shooting, skating, skiing, squash, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, triathlon, volleyball, weightlifting and wrestling.

The New Orleans Pelicans NBA team wore yellow socks in their game against the Sacramento Kings to show unity with Ukraine and raise awareness. Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas, who is from Lithuania, along Russia’s western border, said a day after the invasion began last week that “war is not the solution.”

Saying it was “shocked and horrified” over recent events, the International Cat Federation said it has banned Russian cats from its international competitions.

The Board of FIFe also decided that it will dedicate a part of its budget to support cat breeders and fanciers in Ukraine who are suffering.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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